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Kenyan court suspends government's Covid vaccine certificate plan

Covid: Kenyan court suspends vaccination requirement for access to certain public places   -  
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A Kenyan court on Tuesday suspended a government decision banning people who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from entering certain public buildings and popular places such as national parks, bars and restaurants.

The government had announced last month that from December 21, it would be mandatory to present a vaccination certificate to access certain public services, such as hospitals, schools, tax centers and immigration offices.

A judge temporarily suspended this decision on Tuesday, pending the review of an appeal filed by a businessman calling the directive "tyrannical" and a clear violation of the constitution.

Some organizations, including the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), have deemed the directive discriminatory and called on the government to withdraw the full vaccination requirement, which also applies to visitors from Europe.

"If the government has an obligation to protect its population from serious threats to public health, the measures must be reasonable and proportionate," HRW said in a statement on Tuesday.

The NGO pointed out that there was not enough vaccine stock to vaccinate all adults before the scheduled start date.

Kenya has fully vaccinated only 3.2 million people, or 12% of the adult population, according to official figures, while the government had set a target of 27 million by the end of 2022.

Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday defended the decision, saying it was the government's duty to protect those vaccinated from exposure to the infection.

"This is even more essential with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Experts have warned that it is more infectious than previous forms of the virus," Kagwe said in a statement.

Kenya has recorded a total of 256,484 cases of Covid-19 infection, including 5,349 deaths.

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