Arrests, huge traffic snarl ups as police enforce Covid curfew

Nairobi and Nakuru counties were at the weekend on the spot after over 150 people were arrested for violating curfew orders even as thousands of motorists and passengers stuck on traffic for hours.

The move came as the police mounted roadblocks on major roads around the capital as they enforced a Covid curfew to help check spread of the virus.

The two counties are among five regions declared Covid-19 infected zones. In Nakuru, about 45 people were arrested for flouting the Covid-19 restriction measures.

Nairobi Regional Commissioner James Kianda has, however, defended the move by police to mount roadblocks along major highways, which saw a heavy snarl up along all major roads in Nairobi on Saturday and Sunday.

Read also: Current Covid-19 curfew in Kenya to end on May 29

“The operation was necessitated by Kenyans, who have been defying curfew hours repeatedly. Nairobians should expect more going forward. It was not possible to arrest people because of numbers but several were arrested and they will appear in court,” he said.

Government’s spokesperson, Col (rtd) Cyrus Oguna, defended the move, urging Kenyans to treat curfew restrictions as a collective responsibility.

“Observing these measures include strictly respecting the curfew time which starts at 8pm for the One Zone and 10pm for the rest of the country. Let this be a collective responsibility,” he noted in a tweet.

Last month President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced 8pm-4am curfew to deal with a third Covid-19 wave in Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Machakos, Nairobi and Kajiado counties.

The UK and US have already issued travel advisories banning their nationals from visiting Kenya because of Covid-19 and other security concerns.

On Saturday, April 17, Kenya recorded 1,027 new Covid-19 cases from a sample size of 7,184 tested turning into a 14.3 per cent positivity rate. The Ministry of Health also announced 20 Covid deaths on the same day.

In the last 24-hour period, Kenya reported 366 positive cases from a test done on 3,664 people implying that the positivity rate is now at 10 per cent. The total number of positive cases in Kenya stands at 151,653.

In his address on Sunday, April 18, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said 18 patients have succumbed to the virus, pushing the cumulative fatalities to 2,481.

A total of 1,620 patients are currently admitted in various health facilities countrywide.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization(WHO) has cautioned that Coronavirus transmission across the world is at a worrying rate.

“Globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months. This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic,” said WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus as global Covid-19 death toll crossed three million.

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