Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Kenya to ease travel restrictions as part of phased coronavirus recovery plan starting July 7. Nationwide curfew to remain in effect.

  • Alert Begins: 06 Jul 2020 11:50 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 06 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions; increased security; possible clashes

Authorities in Kenya plan to ease certain travel restrictions over the coming weeks as part of the nation's phased coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery plan. Initially, an existing order that prohibits movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, as well as Mombasa and Mandera counties, will be lifted effective 0400 July 7. Public transport providers serving these areas, however, will be required to obtain Ministry of Health certification and comply with all applicable government protocols. Additionally, domestic flights will resume on July 15, with international flights restarting Aug. 1.

Despite the move toward lifting travel restrictions, however, the administration in Nairobi has also extended the country's nationwide 2100-0400 curfew for 30 days. The current prohibition on social and political gatherings, as well as the existing limitations on the numbers of persons who may attend funerals and weddings, have similarly been extended for 30 days. Religious services are allowed to resume, albeit with certain restrictions.

The following COVID-19-related directives will remain in force until further notice:


  • Protective face coverings must be worn in public areas, including in private vehicles and on public transportation.


  • Classes at Sunday schools and Madrassas are suspended.


  • Restaurants, bars, and pubs are restricted to take-away services.


  • International maritime and other water travel is prohibited. Cargo transport will continue under Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transportation guidelines.


Enhanced screening of shipments at ports of entry could prompt supply chain disruptions and shortages of some goods. Security forces will continue to deploy to enforce restrictions that remain in effect. Protests in opposition to the COVID-19-related restrictions cannot be ruled out.

Authorities could reimpose, tighten, further ease, or otherwise amend restrictions with little to no notice, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the country.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Kenyan authorities are similar to actions taken by other governments globally 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.

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.

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