Corona: Cabinet to discuss lockdown as job losses loom

President Uhuru Kenyatta chairs a Cabinet meeting on April 18, 2019 at State House, Nairobi. PSCU President Uhuru Kenyatta will this morning chair a Cabinet meeting that will discuss a raft of stringent restrictions that his government will put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Cabinet meets on the day the Ministry of Health is expected to announce a further increase of cases from the seven that CS Mutahi Kagwe announced yesterday.

The government is concerned that some Kenyans are not taking the call to maintain social distance and work from home seriously.

According to a draft government order seen by the Star, the government plans to impose tight emergency restrictions nationwide on people’s movements.

In an echo of the far-reaching measures already imposed in Italy, France, Spain, China, US and other countries, people will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine, go to hospitals and banks, or take trips related to the care of the young and the elderly.

Those rules could take effect by this weekend if approved by the Cabinet.

Already schools and universities have been closed. The government also plans to close restaurants, bars and hotels nationwide along with non-essential stores, a step some counties like Mombasa have already taken.

"The Cabinet will consider, banning inter-county travelling because many Kenyans are rushing upcountry where health systems are weaker.

"If that doesn’t work, all armed forces will be deployed across the country to force people to stay in their houses unless they are essential service providers," a member of the task force on Covid -19 said.

The government believes the introduction of new measures will be necessary to protect 47 million Kenyans, especially the most fragile individuals.

Massive job cuts loom as firms turn to austerity measures to deal with revenue shortfalls as the country begins to feel the devastating impact of coronavirus.Flower firms in Naivasha have sent home more than 1,000 employees after huge losses following a closed European market.Hundreds of employees with Export Processing Zone firms have also been sent packing due to lack of raw materials and inability to export.Also hard hit are hotels, clubs and the tourism sector as the government moves to enforce social distancing that has literally grounded nearly all socio-political and economic activities.The government and private institutions on Monday sent most of their employees home as part of the social distancing measure to curb the spread of the virus that has […]

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