No more weddings, disco matangas as government tightens measures in curbing COVID-19

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Wedding bands. Fewer people divorced and married this year compared to last year./COURTESY

If you have a birthday coming up, you will have to celebrate it alone.

The government has suspended all weddings, merry-go-rounds (chamas), disco matangas and birthday parties for the time being due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at Harambee House in Nairobi while giving the daily updates on the state of coronavirus in the country, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho directed all National Government Administration officers ensure they shut all open places of worship and entertainment spots.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Government suspends religious gatherings as coronavirus cases rise to 15

“The National Government administration officers  are further directed to ensure that funerals are only attended by immediate family members who do not exceed 15 in number and we shall enforce these without mercy,” said PS Kibicho.

“We also have directed them that they should not allow weddings, merry-go-rounds, birthday parties..”  he added.

Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai has directed the National Police service (NPS) to ensure that all directives are enforced starting with enforcing the closure of bars from midnight

The police have also been directed to start enforcing the outlined regulations of the matatus in terms of number of passengers and health standards

“We are also going to support the National Government Administration officers in enforcing all the social and public gatherings which have been outlined,” said IG Mutyambai.

“I am directing all the officers from NPS to ensure that the self-quarantine is enforced, those who will not observe the self-quarantine we will deal with them accordingly,” he added.

Here are additional measures the government has taken to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country:

International flights are suspended effective Wednesday 25th at midnight. The only exceptions to this rule are cargo flights, whose crew must observe strict guidelines.

“Those coming into the country between now and Wednesday, may they be Kenyans or foreigners will; undergo mandatory quarantine at a government designated facility at their own expense,” said CS Kagwe.

“Countries wishing to evacuate their nationals must make their arrangements to do so within this period. Kenyans who are currently in foreign countries and will not have come back within the said period are advised to observe the guidelines issued in the respective countries wherever they are,” he added.

Effective midnight tonight, all bars must remain closed until further notice. Restaurants will remain open for purpose of facilitating take-out/ take-away services only.

“Further in order to give effect to the social distance requirement in public transport sector, all public service vehicles must adhere to the directive issued on Friday March 20th, failure to which their respective Sacco licenses will be revoked. The Inspector General of Police has been directed to enforce this directive,” said the Health CS.

Citing Italy as an example, the government has directed the suspension of all church, mosques, funerals and other social gatherings. Funerals are restricted to immediate family members only.

“Long after Coronavirus is secured, we will still have weddings, we will still have churches, we will still have mosques.. but what is the point of continuing with these institutions as if nothing is happening and cut your gathering post coronavirus by half?” posed the CS.

Government has urged people to stay at home if they have no business in town.

“Kenyans MUST treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves, by adjusting & changing their lifestyles. If we continue to behave normally, this disease will treat us abnormally,” said CS Kagwe

The police will ensure that all directives are followed and those who fail to comply will be punished.

“We will be using our command centre to be doing monitoring of compliance to the directives,”

 “National Police Srvice will start enforcing the Public Health act

All persons who violate the self-quarantine requirements will be forcefully quarantined for a full 14 days at their cost and thereafter arrested and charged in accordance with the Public Health Act.

“This will apply to a senior government official in Kilifi who defied and refused to self-quarantine, who is now being forcibly being quarantined in a facility and upon the completion of the period given by our health authorities the person will be charged in a court of law. And this will be followed by others,” said CS Kagwe.

The CS also cautioned young people coming back abroad from getting in contact with old people as older people are more vulnerable.

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