My Fellow Kenyans,
Today is the 44th day since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in our country.
Over that time – we have demonstrated the RESILIENCE, COURAGE, and INGENUITY required to DEFEAT this INVISIBLE, LETHAL ENEMY.
This coronavirus has affected the whole world, some nations far more severely than others.
We have been spared the more terrible human cost so far because the Government followed the advice of our medical experts and acted quickly to stop this disease spreading and killing large numbers of Kenyans.
At the beginning of this pandemic, our Medical experts had projected 10,000 people would be infected by the end of April.
However, due to DETERMINED mitigation measures – we are now at 343 confirmed cases.
I thank the millions of Kenyans for showing DISCIPLINE and RESPONSIBILITY. Your attitude is saving thousands of families from grieving for those who would otherwise be lost to the coronavirus.
On behalf of a grateful nation, I also extend appreciation and thanks to the health and security officials standing on the frontlines against this formidable foe.
While we mourn the 14 that have succumbed to the disease, we also celebrate the 98 recoveries.
I am encouraged by the progress we have made but we are not yet VICTORIOUS. That is the reason why I want to announce the following additional measures.
In accordance to the advice of the National Emergency Response Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, the National Security Council has sanctioned the following additional measures to protect lives and our country:
That the cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area and the Counties of Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa that is currently in force be extended for a further containment period of 21 days;
That the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew that is currently in force be extended for a further period of 21 days; and
To ensure that porous borders and SECURITY THREATS do not compromise our response to this pandemic, the security services will upgrade their alert and response measures in every border area.
Additionally, counties of Mandera, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa have registered an increase in cases of infection. If this worrying trend does not reverse, more stringent measures will be taken in consultation with the County Governments.
I will continue to use the best scientific and medical advice to calibrate our response as a nation. We will ESCALATE and DE-ESCALATE on the basis of how vulnerable we are to LARGE-SCALE INFECTION.
Key to making these determinations is our progress with targeted mass testing. We are working hard to overcome the greatly constrained global supplies of testing equipment to expand our capabilities.
I am profoundly CONSCIOUS of the economic and livelihood distress many Kenyans are feeling. This is why we are going to continue to roll out initiatives that offer relief, particularly to the youth and families in distress.
The next initiative is a National Hygiene Programme, which will commence on Wednesday -29th April. It will create jobs while making our environment healthier.
This first phase of the National Hygiene Programme for the next thirty days will employ 26,148 workers, and eventually grow to over a hundred thousand of our youth. This added to the 108,000 vulnerable households presently receiving direct cash grants, and the Senior Citizens programme, are offering tangible relief to the most needy.
The inaugural cluster of employment will involve residents in 23 informal settlements, spread across 7 counties.
To demonstrate the principles of this approach — the making of face-masks will be undertaken by 4,048 tailors residing in those settlements. For their neighbourhoods, they will make up to 250,000 masks per day. This intervention stimulates the local economy while advancing our war against the coronavirus.
We have also decided to move in phases to ensure that those being employed work under proper health standards and protocols that limit the risk of infection. As we get better and more practiced at implementing working protocols, we will increase the amount of employment.
As this programme is rolled out from this Wednesday, Phase Two will be getting prepared. Its scale will be much greater, and its areas of focus will be nationwide.
Additionally, there are already aspects of the post-coronavirus economic recovery plan that we are progressively rolling out. My Administration shall activate micro, small and medium enterprises across the country to manufacture basic medical equipment and supplies for domestic use and export.
This initiative shall be nested under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda and will utilise 1.5 Billion Kenya Shillings. The Jua-Kali Sector shall take centre-stage in production, while leveraging our Technical Vocational Education Training Centres and the Constituency Industrial Development Centres.
I direct the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Industry, and Trade to expedite the roll out of the initiative.
Our victory will come from a whole-of-society approach to fighting this coronavirus. This includes our acts of solidarity with others, as individuals, as institutions, and as a country.
I have spoken to most of our development partners and found a positive response. In the next week or two, billions of shillings will be added to our initiatives to offer direct relief to Kenyans. I thank them for their solidarity and willingness to listen and respond to our proposals.
I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to the National Assembly for rising to the challenge and seeing the merit to approve the tax measures my Administration proposed. Thanks to our legislators, we will now (i) ensure that employees have more of their earnings available to them to spend; and (ii) reduce the corporate tax burden as an incentive to the business enterprises. I expect these measures to complement other measures the Government has taken, to minimise the negative impact of the coronavirus on the economy and on the welfare of the mwananchi.
I want to specially recognise and thank how active community groups are in responding to the needs of their fellow citizens.
To the members of Shining Hope for Communities; Sikh and Hindu Communities, Green Card Mtaani; Ghetto Classics; Torch Women; Women in Business; and Kibra Community, thank you for the efforts you are making.
My Fellow Countrymen,
We are not GOING TO BE IN THIS SITUATION FOREVER. There will come a day, in the not distant future when we will have overcome the threat of this pandemic. By being DISCIPLINED, PATRIOTIC and EMPATHIC, we will achieve VICTORY.
As I have stated, we are guided by medical expertise and science on how to escalate and de-escalate our response to this pandemic. We are now in the middle of a war being fought in every street, homestead and building in the country.
The KEY to returning to normal life is keeping our infection rates falling and raising our testing rates. So far, we have tested over seventeen thousand samples (17,492) and are proceeding with mass targeted testing. This is giving our experts the data and insights to guide our policy decisions.
I will not delay de-escalating the measures we are taking – the moment our experts inform us that the risks have reduced sufficiently on the basis of how we respond.
I have directed the National Response Emergency Response Committee to map out the economic sectors and activities on the basis of infection risk. This mapping exercise when combined with increased testing and more exact contact tracing will inform how we reopen the economy progressively.
One immediate step from the work done so far is that we will allow a few restaurants and eateries that show the highest levels of health regulation compliance, and the ability to arrange for employee testing, to undertake minimal operations while maintaining measures that mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus. The Cabinet Secretary will announce and release the protocols.
Any report by the public or authorities that these establishments are not following the measures, will lead to their instant closure and prosecutions.
We will reopen this economy but it must be in a way that does not endanger many thousands of lives. Some countries had initially succeeded in suppressing the pandemic, only for them to open up without a proper process and suffer a huge spike in infections.
Finally, the long rains are here. And whilst we are grateful for the blessings, heavy rains in many parts of our country have led to flooding, landslides and the loss of life and destruction of property.
I mourn the 29 Kenyans we have lost in Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot. My Administration continues to make every effort to support affected families and communities across the country.
We have mobilised the deployment of resources including rescue personnel from our various security and humanitarian agencies; covering the Kenya Defence Forces, the National Police Service and Special Programmes sections of other Agencies; to the affected region, so as to provide emergency response, mitigation and preventative action.
Let me finish by reminding every Kenyan that we will get to the end of this challenging period. We will overcome this pandemic.
We will return to our workplaces and see our friends and family members who we miss. We will return to the precious work of building our nation for our children.
We are all in this together. Health for all in Kenya, GOODWILL to our neighbours, a HELPING HAND reaching out in empathy to those struggling, SECURITY BY ALL FOR ALL.
I call on all Kenyans to join me in wishing our Muslim brothers and sisters a blessed holy month of Ramadhan. They will observe this period within the guidelines given by the Ministry of Health.
Our prayers and thanks to our brave and dedicated medical professionals, their support staff and essential service providers. We thank God for those who are working every day to save lives and safeguard our country.
Thank you and may God Bless Kenya.