Ministry of Health, in line with the guidelines from the World Health Organization, laid out various COVID-19 precautions and guidelines for Kenyans to adhere to.
The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya has not been easy. The fight has been marred with controversy and allegations of corruption that hit Kenya Medical Suppliers Authority (KEMSA). The scandal shifted many people into thinking that COVID-19 was just a way for government entities to make money.
Despite the challenges, the Ministry of Health, in line with the guidelines from the World Health Organization, laid out various COVID-19 precautions and guidelines for Kenyans to adhere to. Most of these guidelines have been left for law enforcers to ensure that they are followed.
Here are some of the guidelines that were put in place by the Government of Kenya in conjunction with the Ministry of Health:
Curfew and cessation of movement
President Uhuru Kenya put a curfew in place to reduce the movement of Kenyans and cut the risk of the spread of COVID-19. In the beginning, the curfew ran from 9 pm to 5 am before being adjusted to run from 10 pm to 4 am. The current curfew runs to March 12, 2021.
The majority of Kenyans, however, feel that the curfew is unnecessary for it has failed to serve the intended purpose. President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his last address to the nation, admitted that the curfew has played a role in fighting crime more than COVID-19.
Facemasks, washing hands, and sanitizing
The wearing of facemasks was made mandatory by the government. Kenyans were required to put on masks while in public at all times. The national police through Inspector General Hilary Mutyambai issued a statement that Kenyans found to pay a mask were to pay an instant fine of 20,000 shillings.
At first, Kenyans put on masks, especially in major urban centers. However, it was not because they wanted to, but because they feared being arrested if found without. There was also confusion on the right kind of mask that Kenyans were supposed to have.
At the same time, Kenyans were encouraged to always wash their hands with water and soap. They were also encouraged to always sanitize their hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer. The government went ahead to install handwashing points in various parts. Water since ran out and taps ran dry.
Maintaining social distance and avoiding crowded places
This has been the hardest guideline to enforce and for Kenyans to adhere to. The guideline requires a person to be at least 1 meter from the next person to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. The government issued a directive requiring public service vehicles to carry 60 percent of their normal capacity.
Places of worship were directed to reduce the number of congregants. The number of people attending burial ceremonies was also reduced to 15 before being revised to 100. Politicians have, however, made this directive look like a joke. They have been holding massive political rallies that break all the COVID-19 protocols.
Quarantine and isolation
Kenyans and visitors found with COVID-19 were required to be isolated in health facilities to be treated or at their homes (home-based care). Those found exposed were required to quarantine for at least 14 days and let go after testing negative from the virus.
At the start, Kenyans protested being held in quarantine centers because of the dilapidated facilities. Kenyans in quarantine centers were also required to pay and those who could not afford were detained in the said centers for long.
Taking of body temperatures
Organizations and businesses were required to procure thermoguns to take and check the temperatures of every person who visited their premises. The same was replicated for public service vehicles although the practice is slowly fading.
The challenge is organizations have not been trained on how to handle an individual they will suspect of having COVID-19.
Are the guidelines working?
In the beginning, the government seemed serious about fighting COVID-19. As the days moved by, things started to slowly go back to normal. The politicians are back to holding huge political rallies and Kenyans are increasingly abandoning the use of masks.
Now that the new strain is already in the country, the Ministry of Health needs to be back in ensuring that Kenyans are following the guidelines provided.