There will be no parallel celebrations in the counties during this year’s Jamhuri Day, which will be feted at the Uhuru Grounds in Nairobi, on December 12.
Interior Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the move follows consultations across government and expert advisories indicating that such events will potentially accelerate the spread of COVID-19.
In addition, Dr Kibicho, who also chairs the National Celebrations Committee, said that only 11,000 invited guests will be allowed into Uhuru Gardens during the celebrations.
He added that although the participants will be more than three times those invited to Mashujaa Day in Wanguru stadium in Kirinyaga County last month, concerns over the new Omicron variant of the Covid 19 discouraged the invitation of more people to the event.
“In adherence to the containment measures, we will allow only 10,000 people in the public sitting area and around 1,000 in the main dias. Invitations will be done through our usual systems; Nyumba Kumi and the NGAO’s structure to ensure that there is equal participation and fair representation by all classes.”
On the mass vaccination drive, a stand will be set up at Uchumi Lang’ata grounds from Friday, December 10, to Sunday, December 12 to allow invited guests and members of the public to get jabs. The drive will run between 8am and 5pm.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has cautioned Kenyans against waiting for the December 21 deadline to rush for their jabs, maintaining that the directives issued more than two weeks ago will be implemented to the letter. However, it added that the exercise is not mandatory.
“We have set that deadline very clearly and a long time ago to say that if you want to get on the train, if you want to go to a restaurant, if you want to go to a government office, if you want to get onto a plane, if you want to leave Kenya, you will have to be vaccinated,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said.
“For that reason, we are telling Kenyans, don’t wait for the last moment let’s not do the usual thing of waiting until the last minute for you to start rushing for your vaccine, the best time is now, the best time is the hour that you have to go and get vaccinated,” he added.
The directives will see unvaccinated Kenyans denied services after the lapse of the deadline.
“We are not forcing any Kenyan to be vaccinated, it is not mandatory vaccination, if you don’t want to be vaccinated, that is fine with us but do not expect us to risk all other Kenyans who want to be vaccinated because of you,” he noted.
So far, the Health Ministry has received about 21 million doses of vaccines and has administered roughly 8.5 million doses.
Only about three million Kenyans, representing just 10.8 percent of the target population are fully vaccinated.