Coronavirus is robbing humanity of one of its most potent expressions of love – the power of touch. But when the virus finally releases Kenyans from self-isolation into each other’s arms, the embrace will probably be plain and bereft of warmth. The virus is leaving in its wake a cold and broke population. It is slowly sapping the vitality of life from Kenyans, exposing them to the vagaries of nature. It is disarming Kenyans of the most crucial weapon in their battle against disease, poverty and ignorance. The fear of coronavirus (Covid-19) is sucking money from Kenyans’ pockets and bank accounts. Virtually everyone, including government, is going broke as the economy gradually shuts down. A morbid fear of the disease has begun to impede the circulation of money in the economy. This is so much so that when life resets to normal, most Kenyans might not have the money to buy food, pay rent, school fees or medical bills. Globally, the virus had already taken 14,704 lives by Monday. Kenya has so far been spared its wrath; out of the 340,066 confirmed cases worldwide, the country has only 15 and no fatality. Unlike in Italy and other European countries, this is not yet a full-blown health crisis. It is, however, already turning into an economic nightmare. Schools are closed. Factories, offices and court rooms are half open. Soon, there will be just a handful of Nairobi residents gravely going to work, anxious of any whiff of a sneeze. There are those who have unsuccessfully tried to convert their dining tables into work stations. Others have taken annual leave and fled upcountry, far away from the madding crowd where the lethal virus is supposedly lying in wait. But the bigger test is yet to come – though the drumbeats can be heard from afar. People have started running out of cash. Those whose work is to connect Kenya with the outside world are the first casualties. Coronavirus is keeping airplanes from the skies. Starting tomorrow, no passenger plane will be allowed into the country, putting the livelihoods of over 30,000 workers at risk. National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has already announced that it will suspend all international passenger services starting tomorrow.
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Earlier, KQ Chief Executive Allan Kilavuka had announced that he would give up […]