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Monday, December 6, 2021

Kenya will impose broad restrictions on the unvaccinated from next month.

Kenya will require people to show proof of coronavirus vaccination to enter many businesses, restaurants and government offices starting next month – a major policy shift that has sparked outrage in a country where less than 5 percent of its population is fully vaccinated.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary for health, said Sunday that he is concerned about the slowdown in vaccinations and hopes the new rules will convince more people to get vaccinated. With the closure of schools and the start of the holiday season in the country, he said, there are fears that people will become complacent about public health measures, including social distancing and wearing masks.

The new measure was quickly criticized by the public and activists, who warned against a strict vaccination ban just weeks after lifting a long-standing nationwide night curfew that dampened economic activity.

Vaccination campaigns in Kenya have been hindered by the lack of awareness campaigns or the widespread proliferation of nationwide vaccination sites, as authorities struggle to gain access to or purchase the cold rooms needed to store vaccinations.

Since December 21, unvaccinated people. access will be denied visit government agencies, including those that provide immigration, tax, educational and transportation services, Mr Kagwe said on Sunday.

The new rules will also apply to those planning to visit hospitals, prisons, eateries, bars, national parks, and any business serving 50 or more people a day. Public transport drivers as well as pilots and flight attendants are expected to carry proof of vaccination with them at all times. In addition, European visitors will need to be fully vaccinated to enter Kenya.

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Kenya has reported more than 254,700 coronavirus cases and 5,328 deaths. While the average incidence has declined in recent weeks, the lag in vaccinations and the spread of the more contagious variant of Delta have overwhelmed the country’s health care system. Kenya hopes to vaccinate at least 30 million people by the end of 2022, but like many African countries, it is also struggling to gain access to vaccines.

The new restrictions were met with skepticism, with many complaining about their impracticality. Some pointed to the low level of vaccination in the adult population: only 8.8 percent of them were fully vaccinated. Others said the mandate could open the door to more corruption, bribery and the distribution of fake vaccine certificates.

Critics said the government must not only make sure vaccines are available to everyone, but also develop better strategies to tackle vaccine hesitation.

“The general compulsory vaccination, especially one that gives such a short notice during which people must be vaccinated in order to access even basic services, is unconstitutional,” said Vaikva Vanyoike, a prominent constitutional lawyer. tweeted

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