Covid-19: Lockdown Survival Guide In Kenya

  • A photo of people queuing to pay at a Nairobi supermarket on Friday, March 13, 2020.
    People queue to pay at a Nairobi supermarket on Friday, March 13, 2020.
  • As the number of Covid-19 cases in Kenya increased to 25 on Tuesday, February 24, fears of a total lockdown in the country are intensifying.

    Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna on Monday indicated that the government was indeed contemplating a total lockdown in light of several cases of even government officials failing to comply with the self-quarantine protocol.

    “A lockdown is something that is always on the table but we don’t want to get there and we will not get there if our people are able to obey the advisory and measures that have put in place by the government,” Oguna stated in a live broadcast interview.

    Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna addresses the media at Kenyatta National Hospital on Saturday, March 14, 2020
    Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna addresses the media at Kenyatta National Hospital on Saturday, March 14, 2020
    Simon Kiragu

    How a total lock down looks like:

    As already effected in several European and Asian countries hard hit by the pandemic, a lockdown has several implications on everyday life as we know it.

    Italy, the new epicentre of Covid-19, announced a countrywide lockdown on March 9. Citizens and residents must get official permission if they need to travel within the country for work, health, or any other significant purpose. Schools are closed as are businesses, except those considered essential, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

    China’s lockdown began on January 23 in Wuhan and quickly widened throughout Hubei province, people were banned from leaving the city on planes, trains or personal cars.

    On March 22, Rwanda became the first African country to implement a full lockdown where unnecessary movement and visits outside homes are not permitted except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping, or banking and for the personnel performing such services.

    “All employees both public and private shall work from home except for those providing essential services,” according to the statement read by the Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente .

    “Borders are closed except for goods and cargo as well as returning Rwandan citizens and legal residents, who will be subject to mandatory 14 days quarantine at designated locations.”

    Stocking Up

    In light of the experiences by citizens of these countries, one might be attempted to panic buy and unreasonably stockpile essentials, as experienced in Kenya when the first case was confirmed.


    Nutrition is top of this list as your body needs food to survive. Given the unpredictability surrounding how long a lockdown could last it is crucial that you purchase foodstuffs that have a long shelf life and don’t require refrigeration. 

    Dry foods such as, rice,cmaize flour, beans, greengrams, powdered milk, some dried spices and cooking oil.


    In regards to medication, most countries under lockdown have left pharmacies and healthcare outlets open so you don’t need to worry about not being able to access necessary assistance. Additionally health professionals advice against self-medicating and instead insist on getting diagnosed by a licensed practitioner before being prescribed medication. 


    In times of crisis, it is crucial that one keeps in touch with loved ones who might need help with an emergency or those in self-quarantine.

    Therefore, ensuring that you have adequate airtime and your phone is well-charged is of utmost importance since it will allow your loved ones to check up on you and also you reach out in case of an emergency.

    Emergency Contacts

    Do you know who to get in touch within case you have a suspect case of covid-19 virus?

    Having a list of emergency contacts such as the nearest police station and health facility can help you get immediate attention regarding any emergency you might have.

    If you feel unwell, have a cold or a cough or fever, please call 719  or text *719# which is a toll-free number provided by the Government of Kenya.

    Hygiene Products 

    As health professionals urge the public to wash hands constantly to avoid the spread of covid-19 virus, personal hygiene is a crucial factor at this time of battling the Covid-19 outbreak in Kenya. Therefore, products that enable you to stay clean and keep the environment around you clean shouldn't be forgotten.

    Among them are, bar soaps and powder soaps, clean water both for drinking and cooking, menstrual hygiene products and hand sanitisers among others.

    As social distance is encouraged, hence stocking up on some of the said items and reducing your shopping trip frequency will be key in battling the spread of the Covid-19 virus. However, panic buying is not encouraged as it depletes the items for other individuals who may want to buy them at a later date.

    A photo of Health CAS Mercy Mwagangi issuing an update on coronavirus at Mbagathi Hospital on Saturday, March 14, 2020
    Health CAS Mercy Mwagangi issuing an update on coronavirus at Mbagathi Hospital on Saturday, March 14, 2020
    Simon Kiragu

    A lockdown may be perceived as a drastic measure but it is also crucial for the county to try to reduce the rate of new infections by limiting the social interactions.

    CS Health Mutahi Kagwe has been instituting a raft of measures ever since the first case of the Covid-19 virus was confirmed in the country on March 13, 2020.

    Kenya has since banned public gatherings in religious institutions, ordered a shutdown of all clubs and ordering restaurants to only offer takeaway services in order to maintain the social distance of at least 1.5 metres between individuals.