Kenya extends curfew as Covid cases surge

The East African country has witnessed a surge in cases from the Delta variant, with a positivity rate of 14% as of Friday.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) gives an address following his tour of the Nairobi National Vaccine Depot where the country's first batch of COVID-19 vaccines are preserved in cold storage in Nairobi on 4 March 2021. Picture: AFP

NAIROBI - Kenya said on Friday that it was extending a nighttime curfew and banning public gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, warning that hospitals were becoming overwhelmed.

The East African country had witnessed a surge in cases from the Delta variant, with a positivity rate of 14% as of Friday, a figure Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said was at risk of rising further unless serious measures were taken.

"Let us not drop the guard," Kagwe said at a televised press conference. "We are all responsible [for] bringing the cases down."

Kenya has been under some form of curfew since March last year when the pandemic first hit, and Kagwe said it will be extended nationwide from 10pm to 4am until further notice.

In total, Kenya has recorded more than 200,000 cases and 3,910 deaths while as of Thursday only 1.7 million vaccines have been administered in the country of 52 million people.

Kagwe said hospitals were becoming overwhelmed due to the increased infections and urged the public to obey the health measures to stay safe.

"If you fall sick today, you will not get a hospital bed," Kagwe said. "I am not scaring you, I am telling you the reality."

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