met with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, said it was “not in the interest of Somalia and Kenya to have a less stable region.”

“We hope this step will bring prosperity to the two neighboring countries, their people, and the region,” he said.

Declan Walsh contributed reporting.

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Kenya Blocks Private Covid Vaccine Imports on Fear of Fakes

Kenya has canceled the private importation and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, citing the need to safeguard against the possible introduction of fake doses and to ensure “greater transparency and accountability.”

Licenses given to private hospitals and clinics to administer the vaccines were canceled and any entity found to be advertising or vaccinating people for a fee will be prosecuted, the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus said on Friday evening.

“Participation of the private sector in the vaccination exercise threatens the gains made in the fight against Covid-19 and puts the country at international risk should counterfeit commodities find their way into the Kenyan market,” read a statement signed by health minister Mutahi Kagwe.

The suspension comes days after private health facilities started administering Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, charging up to $70 for a shot. While the vaccine had received emergency use authorization in Kenya, there was confusion when some health officials said the jabs were not approved for commercial sale.

came a month late and the next shipment, which was expected this month, is already facing delays.

“There is an expectation that they will begin again in full in May, with catch-up accelerating thereafter,” a Covax spokesman said in a statement.

The suspension also comes as Kenya is undergoing a third wave of soaring infection rates, rising deaths and scarce intensive care unit beds. To curb the spread, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a partial lockdown last week, including longer curfew hours, the closure of bars and schools, and limiting traveling in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and surrounding counties.

denied entry into England. British, Irish and third country nationals with residence rights will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days.

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Kenya Imposes Restrictions on Nairobi Region as Surge Builds

Kenya imposed stringent new restrictions in the capital, Nairobi, and in four other counties, fighting a deadly third wave of Covid-19 infections that has placed its fragile health system under devastating pressure.

In a televised address on Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that a tenfold increase in infection rates since January, coupled with a 52 percent increase in hospital admissions this month, called for “drastic measures.”

“Kenya is now squarely in the grip of a third wave of this pandemic,” he said.

Several variants have been identified in Kenya, but some were found among travelers, and there is little data to suggest how prevalent they may be or what role they might be playing in the East African nation’s surge. They include B.1.1.7, the more transmissible and possible more lethal variant first identified in Britain; B.1.351, a variant first found in South Africa that may bypass the protection afforded by current vaccines; and A.23.1, a variant that is now dominant in Kenya’s neighbor Uganda and nearby Rwanda.

As of midnight, Mr. Kenyatta said, all gatherings are banned in Nairobi and four adjoining counties, which make up a single infection zone. Travel is prohibited in and out of the restricted area, where bars, restaurants and places of worship will close, and a nightly 10 p.m. curfew moves to 8 p.m. However, Nairobi’s international airport will remain open.

In the rest of Kenya, sporting activities are suspended, and schools and universities will close until further notice.

The curbs came a week before the Easter holiday when many Kenyans pile into crowded buses to return to their family homes in rural areas.

A vaccination program that started in March raised hopes for an end of the pandemic, which has devastated the country’s tourism-dependent economy. One small bright spot in the tourism downturn has been an influx of wealthy Europeans hoping to ride out the pandemic in upmarket resorts along Kenya’s coast.

But the soaring rate of infections and deaths has forced the country into a painful new lockdown, Mr. Kenyatta said. As of Thursday, Kenya reported a total of 126,170 cases and 2,092 deaths. The positive test rate hit 22 percent this week, compared with 2 percent in January, he said.

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