Thousands of motorists and passengers were stuck in traffic for hours after police blocked major roads in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, to enforce a Covid curfew to battle infections.
Videos and pictures posted on social media showed ambulances struggling to manoeuvre through the snarl-up.
Many people have criticised the authorities for imposing the measure.
Last month President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced a 20:00-04:00 curfew to deal with a third Covid-19 wave.
He also ordered the closure of bars, schools and restriction of movement in five counties including Nairobi.
“Whereas the foregoing measures will have a negative impact on the economy, these measures are temporary… the cost of not acting now will be much greater,” Mr Kenyatta said.
Kenya has confirmed more than 151,000 cases of the virus and just over 2,400 deaths.
The UK and US have issued travel bans to the country because of Covid-19 and other security concerns.
Kenyans voiced their displeasure online.
“Compliance with necessary public health measures is not about torture as happening on Thika road but about national dialogue and community engagement on protecting lives,” tweeted Dr Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO of Amref Health Africa.
Frustrated drivers hooted continuously while some passengers decided to complete their journeys by walking.
Police officers have closed down Thika Road, telling thousands of motorists to camp the whole night for traveling beyond the 8PM-4AM curfew hours. pic.twitter.com/wwJfQWNiCZ
— Adam Maina (@AdamMaina_) April 17, 2021
The Standard news site spoke to a couple who were taking their sick baby to hospital and had been stuck in traffic for two hours.
HAPPENING NOW: Curfew enforcement exercise by the police leaves motorists stranded along Thika Road. Some essential services providers such as ambulances having a hard time maneuvering through the snarl up.
Video by Gloria Milimo, The Standard. pic.twitter.com/akTTni9ORX
— The Standard Digital (@StandardKenya) April 17, 2021
It’s unclear who gave the order but three hours after the gridlock began the police barricades were removed and traffic began flowing again.