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Kenya’s positive Covid test rate now above 10%, but lockdown threat recedes

  • Covid cases cross the World Health Organization's high-risk rate of 5%

  • Kenya records its first three Omicron variant cases

  • But lockdown risks have fallen as the High Court has quashed the government's new restrictions on unvaccinated adults

Kenya’s positive Covid test rate now above 10%, but lockdown threat recedes
Faith Mwangi
Faith Mwangi

Equity Research Analyst, Financials (East Africa)

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Tellimer Research
16 December 2021
Published byTellimer Research

Kenya’s positivity rate (the percentage of positive Covid tests) has hit 10.6%, a level last seen in August. The rate is higher than the World Health Organization's (WHO) high-risk threshold of 5%.

Above 5%, the WHO advises countries to consider implementing lockdown restrictions to contain the virus. There have been three confirmed cases of the new Omicron variant recorded in the country. However, we believe there is very little risk of a new lockdown in Kenya and that the country's macro story should remain intact.

Kenya no longer faces threat of new lockdown

In November, the government threatened to lock out unvaccinated Kenyans from government services, public transport and restaurants. We noted that the proposed regulations were untenable and did not see much risk of them being imposed.

Kenya’s High Court this week suspended the government order, pending a hearing of a case filed by a private citizen. The order has been criticised as discriminatory as Kenya's vaccination rate is very low and, hence, the majority of citizens would be locked out of public services.

Kenya's full vaccination rate still low at 12.3% but numbers increasing on Government push

According to the Ministry of Health, the proportion of fully vaccinated adults stands at 12.3%, very low in global terms but a considerable improvement on the mere 2.4% in August, when the government kicked off its vaccination campaign had just started.

In a later public address, unrelated to the High Court ruling, the Minister for Health reiterated that the government will continue to focus on its vaccination drive and has also noted that the government has no plans to implement lockdowns or curfews any time soon. Therefore, we see Kenya's macro risks as remaining low for Q4 21 and Q1 22.