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Be ready to take unpaid leave or lose your job

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It’s 12.30pm in Nairobi. The streets are empty. If it were not for the virus scare, this would be a holiday. A waiter smiles as he fights to get my attention to convince me to get into an almost empty restaurant for lunch.

He is armed with a hand sanitiser, ready to sprinkle it on my palms if I decide to get in. He’s wearing a pair of gloves as a second layer of protection. Clearly, he’s not taking any chances. You can see a big temporary hand washing station freshly erected at the door, ready for patrons.

This is one of the efforts put in place by major establishments as they fight to remain open, going all out with hand washing points on a day Kenya confirmed its fourth coronavirus case.

Banks are also not taking any chances. A visit to several banking halls revealed other precautions taken to protect their staff and customers in a bid to ensure business continuity as the effects of the lockdown become severe.

Cleaners are now permanent features in banking halls, entrances of major buildings, restaurants, shopping malls and other major establishments, standing in corners, with gloves and sanitisers, dusting tables and chairs every hour.

The guards have one more responsibility — pointing every new visitor to a sanitisation station before they print out the tickets or join the queue.

Other financial institutions, including savings and credit cooperative societies, are asking their customers to scan documents, such as loan forms to their head offices for processing to spare them physical visits.

“We have taken a number of measures to enhance the health and safety of our colleagues and customers, including providing alcohol-based hand sanitisers across our branches,” Absa Bank Kenya said. It has also waived all transaction fees on money transfers between mobile wallets and bank accounts until June 30.

The number of people with face masks on the streets continue to increase. This is despite information that masks do not necessarily help one’s chances, unless taken with other precautions such as hand washing, avoiding physical contact and crowded areas.

However, as businesses fight to remain open, they are now considering painful decisions that will hurt their employees where it matters most.

First, they said you could just work from home. Then this was revised to, ”please take your annual leave” for some. This, as fast as the virus is moving, has quickly moved to ”take an unpaid leave” or ”lose your job” in efforts to deal with the cash shortfalls expected from the coronavirus lockdown.

The Nation has established that several companies, among them big hotels and entertainment spots, have already written to their staff asking them to take forced annual leave to save wage bill costs as they come out with ways to mitigate the impact of the lockdown.

At the global level, airlines, which are bearing the brunt of the lockdown, are considering more painful decisions.

Virgin Atlantic said it plans to ground 75 per cent of its fleet by next week and, consequently, its staff will be asked to take unpaid leave in the next three months.

Such decisions mean employees now have to fend for themselves.

Those with bank loans will also have to find ways of repaying them or renegotiating with their banks on a repayment plan that appreciates the given circumstances.

On Tuesday, Jambojet was forced to suspend flights to Kigali and Entebbe due to few passengers. The budget carrier, which is a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, said the global spread of Covid-19 has resulted in a decrease in passengers.

“As a result, Jambojet has decided to suspend its services to Kigali and Entebbe with immediate effect,” the airline said in a statement.

Kenya Airways said it is losing at least Sh800 million a month on the Chinese route alone. If it factors in the rest of the destinations, the airline is losing billions of shillings.

The stock market was hit as soon as the first case of Covid-19 was reported. The situation was made worse after panicked investors made indiscriminate sale of shares.

By Nation


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Health

The Rate at Which Kenyan Teens Are Consuming Alcohol is Alarming!

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Even though the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act (2013) clearly states that; “No person holding a licence to manufacture, store or consume alcoholic drinks under this Act shall allow a person under the age of eighteen years to enter or gain access to the area in which the alcoholic drink is manufactured, stored or consumed,” a recent study shows that young people start consuming alcohol between the age 12 – 16 years. A bigger percentage of them receive their first drink from their friends, relatives and even parents.

‘When I look at that chair I see Shanty’ – Shanty’s mum mourns
But who cares? The bar owners need money, and young people want to have fun.

44.9% of them drink on special occasions, 32.9% on school holidays, 6.6% 2-3 times a week, 5.1% daily, 5.1% once a month, 3.3% every two weeks and 2.9% once a week.

BOY SCHOOLS ACCOUNT FOR THE HIGHEST UNDERAGE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION WHILE THE HABIT TENDS TO BE ALMOST EVENLY SKEWED BETWEEN THOSE THAT RECEIVE >3000 & <500 PER TERM AS POCKET MONEY. MINORS FROM SINGLE PARENT AND GRANDPARENT-LED FAMILIES ARE MORE LIKELY TO ENGAGE IN UNDERAGE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL
Courtesy NACADA/ Ipsos

-Mpasho


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Kenyans Woman Spikes Lover’s Drink, Transfers Sh1.7mn From His Bank Account – police

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A woman has been arrested in the Kenyan coast after spiking his drink, and stealing Sh1.7 million from his bank account.

24-year-old Beatrice Mueni Mbiu had been on the run since September 8 when the incident occurred at a night club in Nyali, Kwale County.

“She took off alongside her two accomplices but we got her,” a DCI detective told Capital FM News, “she will be charged on Monday even as we seek the other two.”

The detective said the suspect had been positively identified by the victim.

According to police, the woman first spiked the man’s drink then stole his phone which she used to transfer Sh1.7 million from his bank account.

Detectives said they relied on the club’s CCTV images and footage to identify and trace the suspect.

Drink-spiking is common in night clubs frequented by commercial sex workers in major towns including Nairobi and Mombasa where they target both locals and foreigners.

-Capitalfm.co.ke


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Health

PS Kibicho reveals he contracted coronavirus

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Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has revealed that he contracted coronavirus and recovered after undergoing treatment.

While addressing mourners in Kirinyaga County on Friday Dr Kibicho said Covid-19 is not a death sentence.

“I tested positive for coronavirus, but I was treated and discharged from hospital,” he said at Gathuthuini Primary School during the funeral service of a local church leader.

“I am a living example. Those who are suffering from the disease should not worry because they will get well,” he said, adding that out of 100 people who contract the disease in Kenya only two succumb to it.

Dr Kibicho advised Kenyans to be tested for the disease because it is curable.

“Kenyans should be tested to know their status so that they can be treated,” he said.

The PS also urged Kenyans not to stigmatise people who have contracted the virus.

“Covid-19 patients should be showed love and not rejection. When the patients are abandoned, they become depressed and may take longer to recover,” he said.

He also underscored the need for everyone to continue observing protocols issued by the Ministry of Health to control the spread of Covid-19.

“People should wear masks, sanitise regularly, wash their hands and avoid crowded places,” he said.

The PS further said that city residents should avoid travel during the holidays.

“If I had power, I would lock Nairobi during the festive season to curb spread of the dis-ease to rural areas,” Dr Kibicho said.


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