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It’s back to business for Nairobians in this Covid-19 crisis

By George Kebaso
Friday, May 22nd, 2020
Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe. PHOTO/Gerald Ithana
In summary
    • A nationwide curfew, which took effect on March 27 was declared by the government.
    • On April 6, a ban on movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties was announced.

At the junction of Tom Mboya Street and Latema Road, in Naiorbi shoppers are busy bargaining the price of accessories at a mobile phone shop without caring about the social distancing guidelines issued by the government to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The same scene is repeated in other parts of the city centre, including on city roads, where traffic is bumper to bumper despite the “stay-at-home” directive.

Long queues of waiting commuters are back at matatu stages while back streets are once again teeming with hawkers selling clothes, fruits, vegetables and other items. 

This despite the number of coronavirus cases, rising by the day. Yesterday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced that 80 new cases had been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 1109 cases.

Kenyans People Daily spoke to said they had no choice but to get out of the house and go back to work and earn their daily bread.

“What do you want me to eat if I continue staying at home?” posed Winnie Njuguna, who runs a mobile phone shop on Tom Mboya Street.

“We are tired of staying at home and begging for food, a face masks vendor at the junction of Tom Mboya and Ronald Ngala streets told People Daily.

No customers

At the city’s central business district, most restaurants are back to business with some offering outdoor-only dining services. 

On Kenyatta Avenue, most shops are open with many of them restocking after weeks of closure. 

Some of the traders in the city are, however, realising that opening is one thing,  but getting customers is another.

“I have been here since morning but I haven’t had a single customer,” Nduta, who sells flowers at the entrance to the City Market, said.

She said on normal days, she delivers flowers to high-end hotels within the CBD and outside, but since the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been a dry spell.

On March 15, two days after the country’s first Covid-19 case was announced, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a raft of measures, including restriction on travel from countries with cases of the virus, to stop the spread of the disease. 

A nationwide curfew, which took effect on March 27 was declared by the government.

On April 6, the government imposed a three-week ban on movement in and out of the four coronavirus hotspots; Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties.

Both the curfew and partial lockdown of the counties were last week extended until June 6.

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