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National coronavirus tally hits 262 as economy bleeds

By Jael Mboga | April 18th 2020 at 14:41:20 GMT +0300

It will take at least two years for Kenya’s economy to return to normal following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, experts have warned.

Sixteen more people have tested positive for coronavirus in the country, bringing the total to 262.
 
As the virus continues to spread, many Kenyans are celebrating the not-so-bad numbers, but their pockets tell a different story.
 
The pandemic has hurt the economy with many businesses closing up.
 
Those in formal employment have had to take pay cuts based on job groups as others lost their jobs completely.
 
It will take at least two years for Kenya’s economy to return to normal following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, experts have warned.
 
Economist David Ndii cautioned that the virus was not a “passing cloud” and estimated that in terms of expenditure, Kenya was bleeding Sh400 billion a month.
 
He said the economy would shrink to its worst this year with negative growth of three per cent.
 
What has made the situation worse is the lockdown which has forced Kenyans in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties to stay within.
 
Traders with businesses in these counties are now counting losses.
 
In his daily updates Health Cabinet Secretary has said if Kenyans treat the pandemic normally it will treat them abnormally.
 
Some of the measures in place to curb the spread of the virus include PSVs carrying at half capacity as well as the dusk-to-dawn curfew.
 
Market traders that thrived on running businesses late into the night, transporters who burnt the midnight oil, are all counting losses now.
 
Citizens who worked in small businesses that earned them daily wages either lost their jobs or the companies closed.
 
As Kagwe said, small successes are not big successes.
 
While Kenya's numbers may not be on the red, the economy, that was not very promising before the pandemic, seems to be crumbling.
 
“I want to disabuse people of the hope that coronavirus is a passing cloud. Asia is now experiencing a second wave that started in Singapore, Japan and now China,” said Dr Ndii.
 
“The best-case scenario in terms of economic impact is 18 months starting from January to June next year, and the impact will be huge.” 
 
Ndii was speaking Thursday night on a KTN News virtual forum that discussed the impact of Covid-19 on the Kenyan economy.
 
Meanwhile, only 33 per cent of Kenyans are confident of what the government is doing to slow the spread of coronavirus.

According to a new research by Geopoll, 77 per cent of Kenyans still believe they are at risk of exposure, same as Zambians and Nigerians.

However, over 97 per cent of Kenyans say they have taken preventative measures such as improving their hygiene while 63 per cent are in self-quarantine.

The survey was on the impact that the precautionary measures taken by governments to curb the spread of coronavirus has had. Across Africa, 63 per cent of the respondents felt they were at risk of contracting the virus.

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