Hopes for easing of restrictions as NSC meets Friday - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 14 May 2020

Hopes for easing of restrictions as NSC meets Friday

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto during a Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi.
The government could ease coronavirus restrictions and gradually reopen the economy during a National Security Council meeting Friday.
Reports indicate a partial lifting of a travel ban into the country to revive the economy hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kenya imposed a nationwide curfew from 7pm to 5am on March 27. It was extended for a further 21 days on April 25, which ends on Saturday.
The NSC chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta will weigh whether reopening the economy could cause a surge in Covid-19 infections.
Kenya started opening the economy on April 25 when it allowed eateries and restaurants to operate under tight social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Residents are optimistic the government may ease the restrictions, including unlocking some of the five counties where entry and exit are prohibited.
It is unlikely the nationwide curfew would be lifted but employers would be asked to develop return-to-work plans for their staff under tough guidelines.
The country has recorded 737 cases of coronavirus infection, 40 deaths and up to 281 recoveries but faces a risk of an upsurge driven by cross-border infections.
Neighbouring Tanzania poses the biggest threat after adjacent counties of Migori and Kajiado posted 10 and 19 covid-19 cases respectively.
The regional heads of state — save for Tanzania's John Magufuli — held a virtual meeting on Tuesday and agreed to work together to tame cross-border infection.
The Star understands that the NSC would study a technical paper from the Covid-19 National Emergency Response Committee chaired by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe to inform restriction reviews.
“There could be a review of some of the restrictions to align them to the government's strategy to reopen the economy,” said a senior official aware of the plans.
The Kenya Airports Authority, which manages the country's airports and airstrips, yesterday held a virtual meeting with stakeholders as it readies for the resumption of flights.
The meeting addressed public precautionary health measures for civil aviation that will be adhered to once the operations resume.
Kenya banned travel into the country by air sea and land on March 16 to slow down the speared of the coronavirus.
The grounding of passenger plans sounded a death knell for the country's economy leading to massive job layoffs for airline staff.
During the NSC meeting, the government might consider lifting travel ban from some countries and tightening protocols against nations still reporting a surge in infections.
At the same time, the state could ease travel restrictions imposed since April 6 on Nairobi, Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa for being the hot-spots for the virus.
Counties like Kilifi which has been under lockdown has not reported a single Covid-19 case for the last one month despite initially being declared a hot-spot.
Border counties like Migori and Kajiado which are reporting a higher number of cases and cross-border infection could be locked down.

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