Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Kenya — Trends
Save the Children
Save the Children distributes infection prevention supplies, including chlorine, sanitizers, gloves, sprayers and surgical masks to health-care facilities in informal settlements in Nairobi.

Government reinforce restrictions in specific areas of Nairobi and Mombasa

  • First case: 15 March

  • Total cases: 6,190 (as of 2 9June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 144

  • Schools: Closed country-wide (15.3 million learners affected).

  • Borders/Flights: All international passenger flights suspended from 25 March, except for inbound and outbound repatriations and cargo; Borders with Somalia and Tanzania closed since 17 May, except for cargo.

  • Containment measures: Countrywide curfew (9 p.m. to 4 a.m.) effective from 7 June; cessation of movement from other counties into and out of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera; public gatherings limited to 10 people; masks to be worn in public areas.

Situation:

With over 6,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including over 100 people who died from the disease as of 29 June, the President announced on 6 June an extension of the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew and COVID-19 restrictions. The curfew, which was extended by another 30 days, is now running from 9 p.m.- 4 a.m. The order on cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area and the counties of Mombasa and Mandera has also been extended by 30 days, as well as the ban on public gatherings and international travels. On the other hand, the Government lifted the cessation of movement into and out of the Eastleigh Area of Nairobi and the specific limitations in force in Mombasa Old Town Area. The restrictions of movements in and out of Kilifi and Kwale counties have also been lifted. The gradual reopening of schools is expected to start in September, with a new school calendar to be announced by mid-August. The land borders with Somalia and Tanzania have been closed on 17 May, except for cargo, following increasing number of cases in border areas. COVID-19 test is, since then, mandatory for all drivers of transborder cargo vehicles and those who have the virus will not be allowed to entry Kenya.

Meanwhile, heavy rains and flooding in at least three quarters of Kenya's counties between March and June have affected over 233,000 people, including 116,000 displaced, increasing the risk of health emergencies, including higher levels of COVID-19 community transmission at overcrowded camps.

On 22 April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) launched a report denouncing several allegedly cases of police violence. According to HRW, officers shot and beat people at markets or returning home from work, even before the daily start of the curfew. The organization documented cases of police breaking into homes and shops, extorting money from residents or looting food in several locations across the country. HRW urged Kenyan authorities to ensure that the police do not use excessive force. The Government of Kenya's Independent Policing Oversight Authority has recorded at least 35 cases of police brutality related to enforcement of the COVID-19 curfew, 12 of which resulted in death, and has opened investigations into a number of the cases.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly put Kenya's goal of ending female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2022 in jeopardy, amid reports of "mass cuttings" of hundreds of girls being held at home while schools are closed, according to media reports. President Uhuru Kenyatta had pledged in November to end FGM by 2022, eight years ahead of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The Anti-FGM Board, a semi-autonomous Government agency, has reportedly received reports of FGM from several counties, including West Pokot, Baringo and Samburu and is working with local police to rescue girls and arrest suspects, according to media reports.

Response:

  • The Government has earmarked Ksh40 billion (approximately US$377.7 million) in funds for additional health expenditure, including enhanced surveillance, laboratory services, isolation units, equipment, supplies, and communication; social protection and cash transfers; food relief; and funds for expediting payments of existing obligations to maintain cash flow for businesses during the crisis.

  • On 9 April, the United Nations and humanitarian partners launched an Emergency Appeal to support the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The plan seeks $267.5 million to respond to the most immediate and critical needs of 10.1 million people that will likely be affected by the current situation.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Ministry of Health website

WHO Kenya Official Twitter

Fourth Presidential Address on the Coronavirus Pandemic - 17 April 2020

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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