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Employees torn between going for unpaid leave or losing their jobs amid Covid-19 outbreak

By Nzioka Justin | Mar 19th 2020 | 2 min read

The city streets are no longer as busy as since the Covid-19 outbreak was reported.

Anyone walking around the Nairobi streets will tell you how the outbreak has dealt a blow to many businesses. With even restaurants remaining empty, leaving the security guards hanging on the doors.

All businesses are adopting the idea of sanitizers and handwashing exercise, in attempts to avoid further spreading of the pandemic. So far, Kenya has already recorded 7 cases since the first case was reported on March 13.

Cleaners are now a common image for all businesses and tasked with dusting and sanitizing surfaces every now and then. You will find them all over the business premises ranging from the entrances to the main halls, armed with sanitizing agents.

Financial institutions, including Saccos, are now urging their clients to scan loan forms and send them to the main office. This will keep them from having to go physically to the bank, hence reduced contact.

The number of those wearing masks in the streets keeps on increasing, even after it emerged that they could not help unless taken together with other measures. Even as businesses fight to keep going, bosses are contemplating some painful decisions.

While it all begun by "you can undertake office duties from home," before it advanced to "please consider taking your annual leave." The version would later change to "think of going for your annual leave," or else "get fired."

This is due to the Covid-19 menace, which is greatly increasing with every single day that passes. Many companies, including prominent hotels and entertainment joints, have reportedly urged their staff to proceed for forced leave, as they think of a way forward.

Globally, flight companies, which are among worst-hit businesses, are eyeing the most painful decisions. Virgin Atlantic airline, for instance, has revealed its intention to suspend operations for 75% of all its airbuses. This undoubtedly will mean that the staff goes for at least three months of unpaid leave.

This is to mean that for the leave period, the affected will have to find survival means, with those servicing their loans finding other alternatives or engaging their loan institutions for a negotiation.

Jambojet, on Tuesday, suspended its Entebbe and Kigali flights owing to insufficient clients. The courier attributed the situation to Covid-19 menace.

"As a result, Jambojet has decided to suspend its services to Kigali and Entebbe with immediate effect," read a statement by Jambojet.

KQ company has reported a monthly loss of Sh0.8 billion, for Chinese destined flights alone. Should the same loss depict to all other destinations, then Kenya Airways (KQ) must be incurring losses amounting to billions.

Nairobi Securities Exchange felt the hit from the very first time Kenya recorded her first infection. The situation was worsened following a huge sale for shares by panicking investors.

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