With the deadly coronavirus ravaging the economy globally, Kenya has issued travel advisories heralding tough times ahead as the country is still struggling economically.
The sectors that buttress Kenya’s economy- agriculture, tourism and real estate- are suffering as the virus spread dampens the world’s economic outlook. With Kenya closing its borders to non-citizens, the situation could only get worse-financially- before it gets better.
Countries around the world quarantining their people to curb the spread of the disease while economies continue receiving the thrashing occasioned by the disease. In France, for instance, all non-essential businesses have been closed affecting restaurants, boutiques and museums among other areas of interest.
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In Kenya, shutting down the entry points will work well in taming cases of the disease by preventing those who may have it from importing it.
However, financially, the country is already receiving a hit with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) saying that businesses that rely heavily on imports are starting to feel the pressure.
The worst-hit sectors are those in arts, entertainment and recreation, ICT, Manufacturing, Mining and Quarrying and Private Security at 100%.
Real estate is the least affected at 40% while other sectors like tourism, agriculture and transport have largely been affected.
With the country having barred foreigners from hard-hit countries from entering Kenya, the tourism sector will be hit hard since the source markets in Europe have been worst affected by the disease.
To mitigate against the covid-19 effects, some hotels are already enforcing precautionary measures for guests and staff by issuing hygiene and safety advisories against the spread of the virus.
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PrideInn Managing Director Hasnain Noorani says that hospitality is a high-risk sector since they are on the absolute front line of meeting and greeting visitors from all over the world.
In a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the novel coronavirus had hit the pandemic level.
At the time, the virus had infected more than 120,000 people in more than 100 countries and still counting.
Kenya, and the continent in general, is at risk of primary contamination from China, Europe and the US.
It is only in Egypt where confirmed cases have come from elsewhere in the world.
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that there were two more cases of confirmed infections in the country and suspended entry for all persons coming into Kenya from any country with reported Coronavirus cases.
He said only Kenyan Citizens and foreigners with valid resident permits will be allowed entry provided they take up self-quarantine or check into a government designated quarantine facility.
“This will take effect within the next 48 hours to cater for any passengers who may be enroute. This directive will remain in effect for the next 30 days or as varied by the National Emergency Response Committee,” the President said.
Additionally, the President said all persons who have come into Kenya in the last 14 days must self-quarantine while any person who exhibits symptoms such as cough or fever should present themselves to the nearest health facility for testing.
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With the panic buying witnessed on Friday where some products saw their prices hiked, the president said that to safeguard the public from exploitative traders, severe action would be taken against people found to be taking advantage of the situation to hoard or increase prices of commodities.
“I would like to really emphasize on one point, that we will also equally not entertain hoarding or raising prices to mwananchi taking advantage of this situation to create artificial shortages so that mwananchi is made to pay more.
With foreigners effectively locked out and with businesses taking a hit from the coronavirus pandemic, it is time for Kenyans to come up with innovations that should protect the country from such shocks in the future. At times like this, the test of resilience is what will advise how Kenya prepares for and handles the current situation and any other that may arise in the future.