Covid-19
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.

Kenya has lifted the requirement for wearing masks in public places as well as a mandatory quarantine for those who test positive for Covid-19 following relatively fewer cases as well as low positivity rate for weeks on end.

In revised measures published on Friday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced that Kenyans are no longer obligated to wear face masks in public places, encouraging those who would wish to continue with the practice to do so.

Mr Kagwe stated that all quarantine of both the vaccinated and unvaccinated persons is to be stopped with immediate effect adding that positive asymptomatic cases do not need to isolate but  be observed for five days then allowed to return to work without the need for further testing.

CS Kagwe however said Kenyans should keep wearing their face masks during indoor meetings, where all attendees must have received the jab.

“There has been a lot of debate and discussions on the continued use of face masks as one of the containment measures. The mandatory wearing of face masks in open, public spaces is now lifted.”

The CS, also announced that social distancing must be maintained and overcrowding in public places avoided to ensure that the risk of spread is limited.

“All in-person indoor meetings to resume at full capacity of the venues as long as participants are vaccinated. All attendees should be encouraged to wear face masks.”

The CS further announced a resumption of in-person worship provided all congregants are vaccinated.

“All in-person worship is to resume at full capacity as long as all the congregants and worshippers are vaccinated. The Interfaith Council is urged to develop protocols to facilitate resumption of full congregational worship with full capacity of venues where all congregants are vaccinated,” he said.

“It has been noted that majority of Covid-19 cases present themselves without fever. As such, the use of temperature screening in public spaces has little utility in current epidemiological scenarios. In this regard, therefore, the practice of temperature screening at public spaces can be stopped.”

Moving forward, Mr Kagwe said all PSVs, trains, and domestic airfreight services may resume at full capacity but the operators and staff must be fully vaccinated while all travelers should have face masks at all times during travel.

“Travelers who are fully vaccinated shall forthwith be exempted from the requirements of a PCR test. Children below the age of 15 are exempted in any event from this requirement,” he said.

“All eligible and vaccinated travelers arriving at any port of entry into Kenya must have a negative PCR test result conducted not more than 72 hours before departure regardless of the route of entry. Those below the age of five years are exempted from this testing requirement.”

The Ministry of Health imposed a nationwide mask mandate on April 3, 2020 at the height of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the country.

However, some regulations such as curfew, social distancing were later lifted by President Uhuru Kenyatta amid an economic downturn.

With a population of 54 million, Kenya has reported 323, 140 cases of COVID-19 and 5,644 deaths but inoculation rates remain low, with only 28.5 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated as at March 10, 2022, according to the latest Ministry of Health statistics.

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