NAIROBI - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday ordered a halt to all transport in major cities, including the capital Nairobi, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The president announced the measures after 16 more people were confirmed as testing positive, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Kenya to 158.
In a televised address to the nation, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced one of the stiffest measures yet for the containment of coronavirus.
“To contain and limit the spread of the disease to other parts of the country, the National Security Council has sanctioned and caused the issuance of the following additional measures, as follows: That there shall be cessation of all movement by road, rail or air in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area; and the counties of Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa. The cessation of movement within Nairobi Metropolitan Area shall be for an initial containment period of 21 days.”
The restrictions in Nairobi County go into effect at 7 p.m. Monday night, and take effect in the other three counties at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
All of the 158 cases detected in Kenya come from those four counties, with the large majority being found in Nairobi county. Six Kenyans have died from the highly contagious virus.
Kenyatta said the restrictions are regrettable but necessary.
“I issue these enhanced measures, well aware that they will complicate and inconvenience many Kenyans. However, not doing it will lead to even greater suffering for the people of Kenya.”
According to the president’s directive, no passenger-carrying vehicles, trains, scooters, motorcycles or aircraft will be allowed movement within the four counties.
Kenyatta said transport of food and other critical cargo would continue without any disruptions, he said.
A nationwide 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that the government introduced last week remains in effect.
Worldwide, there are now more than one million confirmed cases of coronavirus, and more than 50,00 deaths.