Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: As of April 6, authorities in Kenya to enforce a 21-day cessation of movement policy across Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale counties.

This alert affects Kenya

This alert began 06 Apr 2020 17:11 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale counties (map)
  • Time/Date: At least through April 27
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, entry restrictions, increased security

Summary
Kenyan authorities have placed a 21-day cessation of movement policy on Nairobi from 0700 April 6 and on Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale counties from April 8, to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). During the prohibition period, except for essential activities, all movement, including by road and rail, is ordered to cease. Authorities also ordered all Kenyans to use face masks in public spaces. Details regarding essential movements, as well as how authorities intended to implement the order, are currently unclear. Clashes are possible in impacted counties due to the tightening restrictions, including the possibility that police may use force against local vendors and residents who violate the new measures.

Following the nationwide curfew policy imposed from 1900-0500 March 28, which also closed land borders with neighboring countries, incidents of police clashes with local vendors and residents have been reported in Nairobi and Mombasa counties, including on March 31. Similar clashes are also reported in Nyeri town center on April 6, where local vendors clashed with riot police over discontent with the government's COVID restrictions policies. Casualties have not yet been reported, however, administration officials have said that more high-risk areas will be closed once an ongoing risk-assessment review is concluded and a crackdown on illegally operating businesses will continue while restrictions are in effect.

The new measures come after the government on April 5 extended the cancellation of all incoming and outgoing international passenger flights through at least May 6, exempting international flights chartered to evacuate foreign nationals. Food goods arriving in Kenya continue through open cargo and port services with strict 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.

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