Nairobi has been the epicenter for Kenya’s COVID-19 outbreak during the global pandemic. In the early days of the pandemic, the Kenyan government imposed a fairly drastic lockdown, including closing in-country travel. This resulted in a massive economic impact were some trade was allowed to continue, but most individuals were impacted. Schools were also ordered shut.
While the country removed most of this lockdown during 2020, on March 26, 2021, a new lockdown was imposed in response to spiking COVID-19 cases throughout the country, with emphasis on five counties with the highest caseloads. Cases went from 4,380 in January to 15,916 by March 21, 60% of which occurred in Nairobi . A curfew from 8:00 pm to 4:00 am was imposed on Nairobi, without a set end date. Schools, most of which were on a break, have been ordered shut, and it is not known if they will reopen after the planned break. Other limitations in Nairobi include the closing of all bars and restaurants except for takeout; all physical meetings are capped at 15 people, with weddings and funerals capped at 30.
The anticipated effect of the new lockdown is more lost jobs in the affected industries. The lockdown is likely to have less of an impact than the one last year, since only 5 counties are impacted, eventhough international travel is still allowed. However, affected industries had not recovered yet to previous levels, so residents in those counties including Nairobi will feel the serious effects of an economic crisis.
In better news, vaccinations have now begun in Kenya. Unfortunately, grollout has been slow and only ages 58 and over are to be vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy is a widespread problem with regard to the only available vaccine, AstraZeneca.