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Kenya Lifts COVID-19 Restrictions


FILE - A health official prepares the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine during a mass Covid-19 vaccination drive in Nairobi, Kenya, Sep. 17, 2021.

Kenya has lifted COVID-19 prevention measures, including wearing face masks in public and restrictions on gatherings, after sustaining a less than one percent positivity case rate.

Announcing the lifting of the measures Friday, Kenya’s health minister, Mutahi Kagwe, said that, among other provisions, people are exempted from wearing a face mask in public.

“There has been a lot of debate and discussions on the continued use of facemasks as one of the containment measures. The mandatory wearing of facemasks in open public spaces is now lifted,” Kagwe said.

Like the rest of the world, Kenya imposed mandatory mask-wearing in early 2021 to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. Failure to wear a mask came with a fine of up to $200.

The ministry urged the public Friday to continue hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers to curtail the spread of the virus within the community.

Kagwe called on people to maintain their distance from others and wear masks to avoid getting infected.

“People are encouraged to maintain social distance and avoid crowding in public spaces to ensure the risk of spread is limited. We, however, encourage the use of masks in all indoor functions.”

The East African nation has vaccinated at least 16-and-a-half-million people, so far. More than seven million people are fully vaccinated. More than 26 million are yet to get a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kenya is one of five countries, with the help of the African Union, set to benefit from the establishment of a facility that will produce COVID-19 and other vaccines.

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