Kenya extended a night curfew and banned alcohol sales in eateries after Covid-19 cases in the East African nation more than doubled in the three weeks since the government lifted restrictions on movement and religious gatherings.
Cases jumped to 17,603 by Sunday from 8,067 on July 6, partly as a result of increased testing. The rate of recovery has also accelerated and more than tripled in the last three weeks to 7,743 people. About 280 people have died of the disease, President Uhuru Kenyatta said Monday in a televised address from the capital, Nairobi.
“Truth be told, there will be more,” Kenyatta said of deaths. “The question is whether we’ll emerge with low number of deaths, or we’ll suffer a catastrophe.”
Earlier this month Kenyatta reopened the skies to domestic flights and said international ones would resume on Aug. 1. The state has also allowed religious congregations of less than 100 people, although younger children and the elderly aren’t permitted to join. Schools are scheduled to reopen in January after shutting when the first infection was confirmed four months ago.
The Health Ministry said last week it’s improving on contact tracing, diagnostic quality and national distribution of proper personal protection equipment.
Kenyan markets have taken a beating with the value of equities traded in the second quarter dropping 10% and bonds by 13%. The currency fell a record low 108.31 shillings against the dollar last week.
“The economic health of the country is tied to keeping numbers low,” Kenyatta said.