As the unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus has forced countries around the world to ramp-up their precautionary measures, Kenyan authorities fired tear gas on residents on March 30. In a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, the government has imposed a curfew to keep people off the streets of Kenya from 7pm to 5am since March 27. According to international media reports, measures that are in place against the COVID-19 outbreak took a violent turn even in other parts of Africa, and in Kenya, it resulted in the death of a 13-year-old boy who was shot on his balcony. However, Kenyan police reportedly expressed “sincere condolences” after the boy died in Nairobi as authorities were trying to enforce the curfew regulations.
The father of the deceased boy has said that the police authorities were beating people “like cows” instead of treating them as citizens who abide by the law. As the global death toll spike to 44,150, it has also raised concerns over the power police forces are being given to ensure the rules proposed by the government are being followed on the ground. While Kenya has reported 81 cases of coronavirus until April 1 and one fatality, police reportedly fired tear gas at a crowd of hundreds who were trying to reach the ferry in Mombasa before the curfew began. Furthermore, videos and photos have also emerged showing Kenyan police beating people with batons.
Kenya urged the citizens to abide by the government’s containment directives, and restrict all non-essential movements to control the further spread of the disease, as per the state media reports. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe told the press that Nairobi had entered into the community transmission phase in view of the onslaught of cases across the region. The government cautioned the travellers against migrating to the upcountry and warned its elderly population against coming out of homes.
The coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 44,136 lives worldwide as of April 1. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 203 countries and has infected at least 882,068 people. Out of the total infections, 185,067 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries and the economy is struggling.
Image source: AP