Kenya imposes travel ban to fight COVID-19

NAIROBI, KENYA (AP) — Kenya increased its restrictions to combat the coronavirus on Monday, announcing travel bans into and out of the capital city, Nairobi, the port of Mombasa and two counties.

Forty-three of Africa’s 54 countries have closed their borders, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of Africa’s 54 countries have imposed lockdowns, curfews, travel bans or other restrictions to try to contain the spread of COVID-19. Fifty-one of the continent’s countries report cases of the disease.

In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta said all movement by rail, road and air in and out of the Nairobi metropolitan area will halt. .

Movement will also be halted in and out of Mombasa, as well as Kilifi and Kwale counties on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast starting today. The restrictions will last for an initial 21 days. Movement of food supplies and cargo will continue as normal, Kenyatta said.

Kenya already has a dusk-to-dawn curfew to contain the virus that has infected 158 people in the country. Four people have died in Kenya from the disease.

Kenyatta said 82 per cent of the confirmed cases came from Nairobi and 14 per cent were reported from Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa counties.

The East African nation of 50 million people has 578 intensive care beds.

South Africa leads other African countries with 1,655 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths, and was among the first to impose travel restrictions as confirmed cases increased.

The country is in a strict three-week nationwide lockdown that started on March 27 and is set to last until April 17.

A couple was arrested at their wedding over the weekend in Richards Bay in Kwazulu-Natal province for breaking the lockdown restrictions which ban gatherings. Forty wedding guests and a pastor were also arrested for attending the ceremony, according to the police.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, currently the chairman of the African Union, has rallied African leaders to unite in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

Ramaphosa on Monday lauded the recently announced African Union response fund, which has raised USD12.5 million to help African countries fight the virus.

The fund is to help lessen critical shortages of personal protective equipment for medical staff that have been reported in several African countries in Africa as global demand for these increases and flight restrictions hamper delivery of aid and other necessary supplies.