Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the country’s nightly curfew to January 3 as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 after numbers surged in October.

Kenyatta said that in October alone, the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases had risen by 15 000 and the East African nation reported about 300 deaths.

“October has gone down as the most tragic month in our fight against COVID-19,” Kenyatta said, adding that the rate of infections from tests carried out had shot up to 16% in the month, four times what it was a month earlier.

The government allowed bars to reopen on September 28 and cut the nightly curfew by two hours. Schools partially reopened on October 12.

Kenyatta said he had also suspended all political rallies for 60 days and asked senior government officials to work virtually.

The health ministry had raised concerns that a revival of political meetings at the start of October could have been among the causes of the virus’s spread.

The national and county governments will also enforce an order that will allow them to deny services to anyone who visits their offices without a mask on, he said.

As of November 3, Kenya had a total 57 093 coronavirus cases, 1039 deaths and 37 846 recoveries, health ministry data showed.

COVID-19 impact on economy

The coronavirus has had a severe impact on Kenya’s economy, particularly in the hospitality, tourism, wholesale and trade, horticulture, aviation as well as transport industries.

The plunging economy has forced citizens to find alternative sources of income, as millions have lost jobs in the informal sector.

In the video below, SABC News takes a look at Kenyans who have turned their car boots into grocery stores in a desperate bid to feed their families:

-Additional reporting by Sarah Kimani