COVID-19 in Kenya: Containment, Mitigation, Recovery, Reopening

This report presents considerations for containment, mitigation, recovery, and reopening (CMRR) to ensure a seamless, organized, and sustainable exit from the coronavirus pandemic in Kenya. The proposals for a systematic and organized exit, will hopefully lead to sustainable recovery and reopening in the public health, security and governance, economy, education, and political sectors. Section A describes the problem and challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, the COVID-19 phases and current status in the country. It also describes, and analyzes Kenya’s COVID-19 status vis-a-vis other countries in the region and the rest of the world with regard to spread, trends and testing. It outlines possible reasons for why the infection rates are still very low in Kenya. This section also analyzes the gains made from current containment measures by the government, and examines challenges emanating from the said measures. The key to organized reopening is to anchor any action on sound evidence. Section B describes and recommends that systematic plan of action detailing sectors, structures, processes, and frameworks should be developed to ensure seamless and organized containment, mitigation, recovery, and re-opening. This section is developed to inform such a plan of action. It contains policy proposals for containment, mitigation, recovery, and re-opening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, this report cautions that it is too early to undertake a full reopening, or a comprehensive plan of action because of uncertainty about the extent of the COVID-19 transmission based on the actual figures given by the Ministry of Health. It is not yet clear whether the low infection figures are as a result of yet-to-be-explained medical pre-conditions that help in the overall immunity; OR comparatively low exposure due to limited international air travel; OR is simply due to limitation in testing. These reasons obscure, or do not reveal the true extent of the infections, and therefore we do not know, or cannot confirm, for now, the actual or correct picture of COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya.