Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Lockdown in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, and Mandera, Kenya, and nationwide 1900-0500 curfew extended through June 6.

This alert affects Kenya

This alert began 16 May 2020 14:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, entry restrictions, increased security; possible clashes

President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a statement May 16 indicating the several measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) would be extended through June 6. These include a lockdown in the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan region and the Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, and Mandera counties and the extension of a daily 1900-0500 nationwide curfew. Under the lockdown, nonessential transport into and out of the impacted areas will be suspended. In addition, Kenyatta has indicated that Kenya's borders with Somalia and Tanzania would be closed. Furthermore, enhanced health screenings will be implemented for drivers of cargo vehicles crossing borders. The status of the border with Uganda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia and seaports is unclear; however, similar enhanced screenings will likely be applied in these areas.

Other measures imposed that remain in place, as of May 16, include:

  • International flights to and from Kenya are suspended through at least mid-June. Exceptions are made for humanitarian and cargo flights. Persons entering the country are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government facility at their own expense.
  • Authorities imposed a 15-day cessation of movement in Eastleigh neighborhood in Nairobi and Old Town area in Mombasa beginning May 6.
  • Face masks must be worn in public areas, including in private and public transportation.
  • Vehicles can carry only 50 percent of the typical passenger capacity.
  • Markets and bars are closed, and restaurants can operate takeaway services only.
  • All persons in public spaces must remain a minimum of 1.5 meters (5 feet) from others.
  • All large public gatherings are banned.
  • Transport of food supplies and other cargo will continue as usual during the declared containment period.
  • Persons arrested during the curfew period (1900-0500) are subject to mandatory quarantine at their own expense for 14 days.

The enhanced screening at ports of entry will almost certainly disrupt supply chains, and shortages of some goods are possible in the coming weeks. Security forces are also likely to continue to deploy to enforce restrictions, including the nighttime curfew and ban on public gatherings. Protests in opposition to the COVID-19-related restrictions are possible in the coming days as are confrontations between security personnel and persons disobeying current regulations.

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.

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.

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center