NAIROBI, 7th April 2020, —President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Kenyans to strictly adhere to protocols set out by the Ministry of health so as to stem the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
The President said measures so far taken by the Government are aimed at ensuring citizens continue with their lives in the wake of the fast spreading infectious disease.
“You are the doctor of your life. Please adhere to the protocols set out by the Ministry of Health to protect yourself and your loved ones. Prevention is better than cure,” the President said when he spoke during a live radio interview with three local FM radio stations-Kameme, Inooro and Coro.
President Kenyatta underscored regular washing of hands with soap, wearing of masks and social distancing as some of the key protocols that Kenyans need to follow strictly in order to limit the spread of the respiratory illness.
“This disease is an unseen enemy and one cannot tell who has it or not, therefore it is for our own good that we change our lifestyle. We have to avoid shaking hands and social gatherings.
“I know it is not in our culture not to shake hands while greeting but please because of this dangerous disease we have to change. It doesn’t mean one doesn’t love you when they fail to shake hands but rather they are protecting you from this pandemic,” the President said.
The President, who spoke on wide range of measures taken by his Government to ensure that Kenyans continue with their lives said, total lockdown of the country is the last option on the table noting that if all Kenyans follow the guidelines and measures put in place so far, then the country would not need to go that route.
“We understand our people better. We know that a majority of Kenyans depend on daily activities to earn their livelihoods therefore we don’t need to lockdown the country as long as we can strictly adhere to the measures already in place,” he said.
On the measures taken yesterday by the Government to stop movement of people into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, the President said it was necessary to do so as to cut out the spread to the rest of the country. He said Nairobi having the highest infections in the country, had become the epicentre of the virus in Kenya.
In the interview conducted by journalists Gatonye Mbugua (Kameme FM), Jeff Kuria (Innoro FM) and Karanja wa Kamau (Coro FM), the Head of State said the containment measure was taken ahead of the Easter holiday so as to protect Kenyans especially the elderly living in rural areas from catching the virus from their visiting relatives.
“We know that majority of our old people live in rural areas and according to studies, this disease affects the old people more than those who are young hence we have to protect our grandparents from this disease and the only way out is to stop movement this festive season,” the President explained.
He observed that with the trends observed in other countries especially in Europe and more specifically Italy where majority of the deaths recorded were those of elderly people, there is need for the country to take measures aimed at protecting senior citizens.
“We need to learn from others even as we continue bracing ourselves for any eventuality,” the President said adding that the National Government is working very closely with County Governments to ensure there is enough water and other necessities needed to prevent the disease from spreading.
The Head of State said he had held meetings with all stakeholders to ensure that the country minimizes on job loses and cushions the most vulnerable in the society in the period of the current Coronavirus pandemic.
He said it is for this reason that yesterday he directed the National Treasury to utilize the Shs 2 billion recovered from corruption to scale up interventions against the pandemic and to support the most vulnerable members of society especially in urban areas.
The President said an additional Shs 10 billion had been set aside to assist the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable populations through cash-transfers by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, to cushion them from the adverse economic effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.
“I know there have been challenges where some elderly people have not been accessing these funds. I have been engaging government officials involved to streamline the systems to ensure our elderly people in all parts of the country are able to access these funds so as to cushion them,” the President said.
The Head of State commended property owners who have come out to support measures taken by the Government by waiving and/or reducing monthly rent to lessen the cost burden on Kenyans during this difficult period.
“I highly appreciate what some of our property owners are doing. Indeed we need to work and understand each other.
“If someone has for years been your tenant and has never failed paying rent it’s only logical that you reciprocate at this difficult time. This is a time for compassion and understanding ,” President Kenyatta said.
He reiterated his directive to the newly formed Nairobi Metropolitan Service, to not only continue providing water services to all but expand the same to all informal settlements.
“This pandemic requires us to stick to the highest hygiene standards hence, I have asked the Nairobi Metropolitan service to ensure all residents of Nairobi access clean water. They should stop water vendors from selling this commodity.
“I have also requested the Kenya Power and Lighting Company not to disconnect power to those who are unable to pay but rather understand the situation we are in,” the President said.
Once again, the Head of State said the measures taken by the Government are in no way intended to oppress Kenyans but rather protect them from Coronavirus.
He said Kenyans who have valid reasons such as doctors appointments in Nairobi or other places will be facilitated to do so if its is absolutely necessary.
The President concluded by calling on religious leaders to continue praying for the country saying Kenya and the world need divine intervention to tame the spread of the respiratory disease.