Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Kenya to enforce a 21-day cessation of movement policy in Nairobi from April 6, and in Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa from April 8.

This alert affects Kenya

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 01:48 GMT and is scheduled to expire 29 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide, especially Nairobi, and Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa counties (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 29
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, entry restrictions, increased security; possible clashes

Summary
Kenya authorities have placed a 21-day cessation of movement policy in Nairobi from 0700 April 6, and in Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa counties from 0700 April 8, to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the new measure:

  • Movement of any person, passenger-carrying bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, automobiles, vehicles, vessels, railway wagons, or aircraft is restricted in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area for 21 days starting at 0700 April 6; similar restrictions will apply to Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa counties beginning at 0700 April 8;
  • Movement is allowed within these areas outside of curfew hours if people follow orders to wear masks and practice social distancing;
  • Transport of food supplies and other cargo will continue as usual during the declared containment period through road, railway, and air;
  • The owner or operator of any cargo-carrying vehicle must assign its driver and any assistants in writing.


All other existing restrictions and measures, including a daily 0700-0500 nationwide curfew, remain in place. The Kenyan police will oversee the measures.

Clashes are possible in impacted counties due to the tightening restrictions; authorities may use force against local vendors and residents who violate the new measures. Reports indicate confrontations between police and locals in Nairobi and Mombasa counties, March 31, and in Nyeri town center, April 6, due to tensions over the government's COVID-19 measures. There have been no reports of casualties. Authorities said they would close other high-risk areas once an ongoing risk-assessment review concludes. A crackdown on illegally operating businesses will also continue while restrictions are in effect.

The new measures come after the government extended the cancellation of all incoming and outgoing international passenger flights in Kenya through at least May 6. Charted-international flights for the evacuation of foreign nationals are exempt from the measure.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Kenyan authorities correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Ministry of Health: www.health.go.ke

Kenyan Airways: www.kenya-airways.com