Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday directed top State officials to fast-track consultations with key stakeholders for gradual reopening of schools and places of worship as more African countries seek partial lifting of coronavirus disease restrictions.

The Head of State said that the guidelines will include protocols like social distancing and hygiene for learners and worshippers’ safety amid the rise in coronavirus cases.

Kenya closed all learning institutions on March 15 while mosques, churches and temples have been closed for two months. Other establishments like hotels and restaurants have started reopening under strict safety measures as the government seeks to revive Kenya’s stuttering economy following restrictions to movement including a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed in late March.

“That conscious of Kenya as a God-fearing nation, I direct the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health to continue and hasten their engagement with religious leaders, with the objective of developing protocols that will be adopted to guide a more participatory way for worship while guaranteeing the safety of worshippers,” said Mr Kenyatta in a televised address to the nation.

“In that regard, and conscious of the emerging trend of infections I direct as follows, that the Ministry of Education fast-tracks and finalises the ongoing consultations with the stakeholders that will provide an appropriate calendar for gradual resumption of education in the country,” Mr Kenyatta said.

The Health ministry projects that infections will peak in August and September, the same period a taskforce appointed by Education Secretary George Magoha says schools will be free to open. The Sarah Ruto-led team made the recommendation, but Prof Magoha reportedly said there is no problem waiting until January.

 

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