Kenyan president to host COVID-19 emergency meeting

The Fifth Extraordinary Session of the National and County Governments Coordinating Summit of Kenya is today set to discuss the

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Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The Fifth Extraordinary Session of the National and County Governments Coordinating Summit of Kenya is today set to discuss the domestic spread of COVID-19.

The summit comes amid a nationwide surge in infections, which have effectively doubled in two weeks to a total of 17,000. The sharp increase, in line with the rest of the African continent, has been exacerbated by the expiration of lockdown restrictions in Nairobi and other urban centres.

The meeting is intended to address county preparedness and assess a potential re-opening schedule. County leaders currently disagree on the measures that should be taken, with some officials inclined towards the re-imposition of lockdown measures in counties with rising cases, especially within the capital. Others oppose the restrictions on the grounds of economic stagnation and delayed recovery.

While a general lockdown is unlikely, expect the re-imposition of target-specific measures—particularly in Nairobi—to enforce the closure of bars, restaurants and gyms which had been permitted to re-open in June. Experts have opposed a lockdown, claiming it would be useless if international travel is re-instituted as planned in early August. The strategy announced at today’s meeting will likely focus on increased testing, bed capacity and mask usage around the country rather than weightier measures.

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