A Kenyan court on Tuesday temporarily halted a government order prohibiting those who have not been completely vaccinated against Covid-19 from visiting some public buildings and key tourist destinations like as national parks, pubs, and restaurants.
Last month, the government declared that beginning December 21, some public services, such as hospitals, schools, tax centers, and immigration offices, will require the presentation of a vaccination certificate.
On Tuesday, a judge temporarily halted the instruction, pending the outcome of an appeal brought by a businessman who called it “tyrannical” and a clear breach of the constitution.
The policy has been deemed discriminatory by certain organizations, notably Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has called on the government to repeal the complete vaccine mandate, which also applies to tourists from Europe.
“If the government has an obligation to protect its population from serious threats to public health, the measures must be reasonable and proportionate,” HRW said in a statement on Tuesday.
The NGO pointed out that there was not enough vaccine stock to vaccinate all adults before the scheduled start date.
Kenya has fully vaccinated only 3.2 million people, or 12% of the adult population, according to official figures, while the government had set a target of 27 million by the end of 2022.
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday defended the decision, saying it was the government’s duty to protect those vaccinated from exposure to the infection.
“This is even more essential with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Experts have warned that it is more infectious than previous forms of the virus,” Kagwe said in a statement.
Kenya has recorded a total of 256,484 cases of Covid-19 infection, including 5,349 deaths.