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Kenya extends Covid restrictions despite protests to end curfews

Kenya extends Covid restrictions despite protests to end curfews
Public demonstrations in Kayole, Nairobi after a youth was allegedly killed by the police   -  
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Kenya will extend existing restrictions, including its national curfew, to stem an exponential rise in Covid-19 cases, the government announced Wednesday.

The East African country is facing a spike in infections due to rampant mass gatherings and the increasing abandonment of barrier measures, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.

The rate of positive tests for Covid-19 has exceeded 20 percent in more than a third of the country's 47 counties in the past week, the statement said.

Kenyatta said strict measures were needed to prevent the already strained public health system from being totally overwhelmed.

"Recent reports have indicated an exponential increase in the rate of infections in several counties, caused by uncontrolled gatherings and religious ceremonies," he said.

The current nationally imposed curfew between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. is extended for another 60 days.

All public gatherings, including political meetings, remain suspended, while attendance at weddings and funerals is still limited to 100 people.

Meanwhile, Kenyans called on the government to end the curfew as they blamed the police for extrajudicial killings especially on those found roaming at night.

This took place on Thursday morning when demonstrations hit some parts of Nairobi after a youth was found murdered, allegedly by the police according to local media.

Kenya has been under some form of curfew since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, but compliance has eased in recent weeks.

With less than a year to go before general elections, politicians have held rallies attracting thousands of people, despite a ban on such events.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, Kenya has recorded more than 224,000 infections and 4,378 deaths, according to official statistics.

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