Fewer Kenyans at home as more out in public, the latest Google Mobility Report shows

Many people have started leaving their homes for recreation centres, groceries, pharmacies, parks, bus stops and train stations, while fewer people are staying at home and going to their places of work. This is according to Google’s latest Covid-19 Community Mobility Report.

The report reveals that 8 percent more Kenyans, as opposed to a 5 percent reduction of movement witnessed in the previous week, have visited retail and recreation spaces in the last one week. These spaces include restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, museums, libraries, and movie theaters. This could be as a result of the government’s recent directive on reopening of restaurants.

Additionally, there is a 10 percent increase in the number of people who visited grocery markets, farmers’ markets, specialty food shops, drug stores, and pharmacies in the last week. In the week before, the country had recorded a 7 percent reduction in movement in these areas. Increased visits to drug stores and pharmacies could be an indication of Kenyans trying to find self-medication solutions against Covid-19.

Six percent more Kenyans also visited national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens compared to the previous week’s 3 percent reduction in movement. The report further reveals that more people used public transport like buses and trains – a 9 percent increase in movement in bus and train stations, up from a previous 3 percent reduction. There was a 1 percent drop in movement in both residential areas and places of work in the last week, compared to the previous week’s 5 percent drop and 16 percent increase respectively.

At the county level, Nairobi recorded a 9 percent increase in the number of people visiting retail and recreation spaces in the last week, from a previous 6 percent reduction. The percentage of those staying at home remained constant, with the capital recording a 13 percent rise in visits to grocery spaces from a previous drop of 4 percent. Visits to parks also increased by 16 percent in the capital after the previous two weeks recorded a constant percentage of visits. Those using public transport rose by 9 percent in the last week after a previous 6 percent drop.

In Mombasa, 6 percent more residents than last week visited retail and recreational centres, from a 9 percent reduction in movement previously. Visits to grocery stores also increased by 3 percent from an earlier drop of 3 percent, while those who visited parks also rose by 6 percent from a previous 19 percent reduction. Additionally, 5 percent more Mombasa residents used public transport than last week when there was a reduction of 8 percent, with those staying at home increasing by 1 percent after the previous week’s 2 percent reduction. Movement in workspaces in Mombasa reduced by 3 percent after a significant 10 percent increase in the week prior.

Kisumu recorded a 3 percent increase in residents visiting retail spaces, a change from the 2 percent drop recorded the week before.  The report also shows a 9 percent rise in Kisumu residents who visited grocery and pharmacy spaces in the last week, the previous week having recorded a significant 20 percent drop. The town also saw a 4 percent rise in the number of people who visited parks, from a previous 12 percent drop, and a 5 percent rise in residents using public transport from an earlier 2 percent reduction. Movement in Kisumu’s residential spaces reduced by 1 percent, having earlier recorded a 3 percent increase.

The Covid-19 Community Mobility Reports are part of Google’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic to help people and public health officials understand responses to social distancing guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reports use aggregated, anonymized data to chart movement trends over time by geography, across different high-level categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, public transport termini, workplaces, and residential.