COVID-19: Economic hardships have forced Kenyans back to business as usual – Report

The majority of Kenyans agree with the government view of the resumption of business as usual against the continuous spread of COVID-19 infections in the country.

According to a just released survey on Kenyans knowledge, attitudes and practices of coping with Coronavirus by the Twaweza Civil Organisation, 59 per cent of Kenyans agree with the government’s view that people have resumed to business as usual despite the outbreak.

The acceptance by Kenyans is however due to pangs of hunger and economic destitution.

38 per cent of Kenyans for instance say cash available at hand would only last them for a day of no movement is allowed.

69 per cent of respondents meanwhile say available food stocks would not last them through a single week while another 24 per cent say their medical prescriptions would run out in a week’s time.

COVID-19 as a health concern has continued to take a back seat as Kenyans remain preoccupied with the ensuing economic devastation.

Kenyans top three concerns are the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy and businesses at 70 per cent, the closure of businesses and schools at 63 per cent and travel restrictions at 29 per cent.

Further, Kenyans sight the biggest impacts as lost income and financial constraints at 85 per cent, increased food prices at 28 per cent and reduced interactions with friends at 23 per cent.

Meanwhile, 52 percent of households have reported an increase in food prices while 23 per cent of the homes indicate many food items are out of stock.

68 percent of households now say basic food intake has gotten worse compared to previous months.

Among the items registering the steepest increase in costs have been listed as sugar, maize and vegetables.

In spite of ‘the business as usual concerns’, a majority indicate they are aware of the risk posed by the virus and have taken requisite measures top among them being the wearing of masks and social distancing.

The survey was targeted at 3000 respondents and was conducted via a mobile phone survey with one special panel round between May 29 and June 30.

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