Nairobi News


Govt warns Kenyans against returning to ‘business as usual’

The deafening silence that has been witnessed in Nairobi for several weeks has changed and the trademark noise from hawkers and matatu touts is back and the government has noticed.

During the daily briefing on Saturday, Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangagi warned Kenyan business outlets against operating normally as Covid-19 is still spreading.

“It’s disturbing to note that the measures aren’t strictly being adhered to, a random check within our city reveals that business outlets have gone back to operate as if these are normal times. We would like to remind them that the disease is still with us,” said Dr Mwangangi.

She also noted that many employees were still going to work despite the government encouraging employers to allow them to work from home and that vehicle traffic was almost returning to normal.

“This is a dangerous trend,” she warned.

Kenya has recorded 435 positive cases for coronavirus and 22 deaths as of May 2.

“I wish to remind business owners that the disease is still there. We must learn to live our new normal,” she said.

When the virus struck in March, the government asked Kenyans to practice social distancing by maintaining a space of not less than one and a half metres from the next person.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe earlier this week outlined strict measures for restaurants before they are allowed to open, including limiting the number of clients to 4 for every 10 square metre space and testing of all staff.

Most businesses were closed or started operating on restricted hours in mid-March when the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country.

There have been calls to reopen the economy in part as data had not been availed to show the exact spread of the virus and the risk involved if businesses were to be allowed to operate normally.

But the Health CS maintained that an earlier order for the closure of bars and entertainment joints would remain in force indefinitely.

“The National Emergency Response Committee has approved the reopening of restaurants between 5am to 4pm each day. Diners must maintain a distance of four (each) per 10 square metres. Alcohol will only be served with a meal or at most 30 minutes after serving a meal. There shall be no self service or buffets. Restaurants should ensure the quality and safety food,” said Kagwe then.