Kenyans abandon cash for mobile money for fear of coronavirus
London, March 16, 2020 (AltAfrica)-For fears of contracting the deadly COVID-19-Coronavirus, Kenyans are going cashless with more people turning to mobile money while rejecting cash
Investigation by AlternativeAfrica.com correspondent John Magwuana in Nairobi reveals that both small and big stores now prefer payment for goods and services in mobile money rather than cash to avoid contact with cash which they believe could be a source of infection for the deadly coronavirus
A local shop owner told AlternativeAfrica.com that ” everybody is afraid of this new disease. We thought we are safe but now Kenya has two more cases and with have been told to avoid shaking so collecting cash too could be dangerous”
The rejection of cash for local transaction was further backed up on Sunday by Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta who urged Kenyans to use mobile money to avoid the risk of coronavirus spread.
President Uhuru Kenyatta further asked agencies to reduce transaction fees as more citizens avoid handling physical cash.
Uhuru issued the advice on mobile money at Harambee House on Sunday when he stated that two more coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the country.
He said the two have been moved to isolation wards at Kenyatta National Hospital but are in stable condition. All 27 people who came into close contact with ‘patient zero’ have also been tested for the virus at the National Influenza Centre.
In view of the new developments, the Government has suspended all travel for persons coming into Kenya from countries with reported Covid-19 cases. Other government directives include:
- Government offices, business and companies encouraged to allow employees to work from home, with the exception on critical services.
- Citizens encouraged to avoid congregating at places of worship, weddings, and funerals.
- Minimise use of public transport and limit visits to hospitals.
- Hospitals and shopping malls encouraged to provide soap, hand sanitisers and water to the public.
The multi-billion shilling travel and tourism industry is one of the biggest sectors to suffer most from the global outbreak of the coronavirus.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) announced that up to 50 million jobs were at risk globally owing to the pandemic.The WTTC figures show that in 2018, travel in tourism in Kenya grew 5.6 per cent to contribute Sh790 billion to the economy. It also created 1.1 million jobs.The government on Thursday set aside Sh500 million for its post coronavirus recovery plan.
On Friday, Tourism Research Institute acting Chief Executive David Gitonga said measures taken by countries to restrict travel would have a huge impact on the sector. Gitonga, however, said it would be “premature” to give a detailed analysis of how the sector was being hit owing to changing dynamics in the spread of the virus.
Kenya confirmed its first case of coronavirus on March 13.Announcing the development, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the patient, a Kenyan woman who had flown in from Ohio, USA, via London to Nairobi, tested positive.
Kagwe said she had been isolated at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Nairobi, and was in stable condition.