COVID Lockdown Season 2 – It’s okay, you can leave Nairobi and come to Nakuru

Everyone is talking about the recently issued second phase COVID lockdown. This current lockdown affects the counties of Nairobi, Nakuru, Machakos, Kajiado and Kiambu, and from scanning comments on social media, no one is happy about the lockdown. Most of the sadness is the imagination that no one is allowed to leave or get into one of the mentioned counties.

However, and as Nzioka Waita, the Chief Of Staff, Office of The President explained, people in Nairobi are free to go to any of the other four counties, and likewise anyone in any of the four other counties can visit any of the five counties freely – the caveat being that by 8 PM you must be indoors.

The President himself explained this directive with the following words: “There shall be cessation of all movement by road, rail, or air into and out of the disease infected area as one zoned area comprising of the Counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru, effective Midnight tonight – Meaning, Saturday 27th March, 2021; until otherwise notified”. The President went ahead to direct that “all public gatherings and in-person meetings of whatever nature are suspended within the Counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru until further notice”, and what this means is that all public places for gatherings/meetings must be shutdown, and that includes all restaurants, bars, clubs, and worship places. Okay, for restaurants, they are allowed to serve takeaways only.

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So traveling is fine within the lockdown zone, but not outside. You can’t for example travel from Nakuru to Laikipia or Kericho, even though both Laikipia and Kericho counties are counties bordering Nakuru. This then takes us to the bigger questions:

  1. Are the COVID lockdown measures able to slow down the spread of the virus?
  2. Are the economic repercussions going to be severe?

The answer to the first question is a bid yes for the simple reason that COVID spreads mostly through personal contact. By not allowing the mostly affected counties to interact with less affected counties, then we arrive at a scenario where health measures can be directed towards dealing with the locked down zone, and at the same time ensuring the free zone doesn’t get overwhelmed by the sickness.

The answer to the second question is no, and that’s because this lockdown allows trade to continue almost as usual within the five huge counties (population wise). But of course some repercussions will be witnessed as there are those whose regular trade involve the locked down counties and the free counties.

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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