Kenya to emerge from virus lockdown, resume international flights Jul 07, 2020 0 342 12345 AFPNairobiKenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced a “phased reopening” of the country, with the resumption of international flights from August 1 as well as the lifting of internal travel restrictions.The move comes as pressure mounts to kickstart the country’s ailing economy after nearly four months of coronavirus restrictions that have devastated key industries such as tourism.Kenyatta said in a televised address that “international air travel into and out of the territory of Kenya shall resume effective 1 August 2020.”He also announced that a ban on movement in and out of the capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa and northeastern Mandera, would be lifted from July 15.However, a curfew from 9pm to 4am will remain in place for another 30 days.Kenya has recorded just over 8,000 cases of the virus and 164 deaths -- the highest official figures in East Africa -- and has seen a steep increase in numbers in recent weeks, with a fatality rate of 2.09 percent.Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday warned “our healthcare facilities risk being overwhelmed”. Fewer than 200,000 people have been tested in the population of 47 million people.In June, Kenyatta had said that before lifting restrictions, the country would need to have contained infections with numbers headed downwards; the health care system must be prepared to deal with a surge in infections; and the capacity for surveillance and contact tracing must be in place.He said Monday that experts looking at those conditions determined “we have not met the irreducible minimum 100%”.However, they agreed “we have reached a reasonable level of preparedness across the country to allow us to reopen,” he said.Kenyatta also warned the reopening was “conditional”.“Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to the lockdown,” he said.Kenyatta also announced that places of worship will be allowed to reopen, but with a maximum of 100 people attending.He urged citizens to continue to implement social distancing, and to avoid travel as much as possible, asking them to, “exercise cautious optimism and avoid reckless abandon.”“Jobs have been lost, businesses have closed and livelihoods endangered. And this is the sorry state of things the world over,” said Kenyatta.Masks are obligatory in the country, but Kagwe has warned of increasing laxity which he said could “spell disaster in coming days”. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Palestinians seek closure of West Bank crossings to curb virus Jul 07, 2020 0 328 ‘Does not matter’ who wins next US elections: Iran foreign minister Jul 07, 2020 0 329 Rocket fired at Baghdad airport, no explosion: Security source Jul 07, 2020 0 835 Iran’s daily virus deaths near record high Tehran Iran on Monday reported 160 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, close to the country’s highest single-day toll announced the previous day. The Islamic republic has been battling the Middle East’s deadliest .. Saudi Arabia makes masks mandatory, bans gatherings during Hajj DPA Riyadh Muslim pilgrims at this year’s Hajj must wear face masks at all times, authorities said, while workers will ensure no overcrowding or gatherings take place during the pilgrimage that in normal times brings .. Shallow 4.6-magnitude earthquake rocks Kabul: USGS A shallow 4.6-magnitude earthquake rocked Kabul on Monday, the US Geological Survey said, sending crowds into the streets of the Afghan capital. There were no immediate reports of any casualties after the quake shook .. Ghana challenger names first woman as major party VP pick Accra Ghana’s main presidential challenger John Mahama on Monday named Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate for December’s election, the first time a major party has chosen a female vice-presidential .. Israel launches new spy satellite to target enemies ‘near and far’ DPA Tel Aviv Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said his country was much better able to act against enemies “near and far” thanks to the successful launch of a new spy satellite. Against the backdrop of ..