Kenyans are sighing with relief following the directives to relax the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places .
The revision of the COVID protocols comes a day before the 2nd anniversary of the first positive case of COVID 19 in the country.
Speaking in Nairobi, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the measures that the government had put in place since then, have paid off
“When I look back, I am happy as I stand here this morning to report with confidence that the national government, working in conjunction with our county governments and many of our collaborative partners, has managed to save the lives of majority of our people from this pandemic,” CS Kagwe stated.
The Cabinet Secretary went on to announce that the government has been conducting periodic reviews of the COVID 19 containment measures, ranging from quarantine, isolation, travel restrictions, restrictions on gatherings and enforcement of wearing of masks in public places, based on the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), on public health considerations and the evolving epidemiological situation globally.
“Because of these measures, out positivity rate has remained belie 5% over the last few months”, CS Kagwe announced, adding that temperature screening is no longer mandatory..
He pointed out, “Particularly for the past one month, that is since 10th February 2022, our positivity rate has been 1% and below. This has been realized as a result of the cooperation of Kenyans, particularly in taking up vaccination”.
While encouraging Kenyans to keep up with the guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as frequent handwashing with soap and water and hand sanitizer
Kagwe announced that the mandatory wearing of masks in public places has since been lifted. However, he said that mask wearing will apply in indoor events even as social gatherings now go back to normal partly due to the uptake of vaccinations. The CS added that masks are still encouraged in indoor events, with people encouraged to maintain social distancing and avoid crowding even in public spaces.
On gatherings, CS Kagwe announced that all in-person worship will now resume at full capacity as long as all the congregants and worshippers are vaccinated. He urged the Interfaith Council to develop protocols to facilitate resumption of full congregational worship with full capacity of venues where all congregants are fully vaccinated.
“All other indoor in-person meetings are to resume at full capacity of the venue as long as all the participants are vaccinated”, Kagwe announced.
The CS said that the decision to revise the rules has been informed by the reduction in the positivity rate and also how the other nations of the world have been relaxing their regulations.
This, as the country continues to upscale its vaccination efforts with 17.8million vaccinations already administered across the country.
The announcement has however been rebuffed by lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui who has taken the Ministry of Health to court over the calls for mandatory vaccination. Speaking to Hope FM, Kinyanjui said the constitution guarantees people the freedom of worship without compulsion.
“We would like to remind the CS for Health and anybody else who is a member of the Interfaith Council that look, we have a subsisting court order that says you cannot compel anyone as a government of Kenya to be vaccinated. We ask this honorable court to issue a stoppage order of that because, what are Kenyans being vaccinated with? ..what is contained in these vaccines?.. ” he asked
The Lawyer who says he is not anti government, has dared the medical community to prove that use of masks prevents the spread of the virus and wondered why it took the government two years to stop their use.