Kenya eases curfew, other virus measures after cases decline

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has loosened infection-control measures after the number of new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the country dropped from an early spring surge

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta loosened infection-control measures Saturday after the number of new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the country dropped from an early spring surge.

Kenyatta announced in his May Day speech that a nightly curfew was being moved to 10 p.m. following a 72% reduction in new cases. On March 26, the president ordered the year-long curfew to start two hours earlier, at 8 p.m., due to a spike in COVID-19 deaths in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, three urban counties surrounding it and Nakuru, a major transit city.

Sports events will resume under regulations to be issued by the Ministry of Health, he said.

Kenya’s 7-day rolling average of new confirmed cases more than doubled in March, from 1.02 new cases per 100,000 people on March 11 to 2.29 new cases per 100,000 people on March 25, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country’s mortality rate quadrupled during the same period, going from a 7-day rolling average of 0.01 deaths per 100,000 people to 0.04 deaths per 100,000.

Kenya, with a population of 53 million, has reported a total of 159,318 confirmed cases and more than 2,700 deaths in the pandemic.

Kenyatta gave his May Day speech during a low-key function at the State House. For the second year running, he did not announce an a minimum wage increase.