Covid-19 is still here, don’t drop your guard
Kenyans must not drop their guard as the country awaits delivery of Covid-19 vaccines.
The country should instead be more cautious because the economy may not withstand a second attack of coronavirus should it strike.
With bated breath, Kenya awaits the 24 million free doses of the vaccine from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) as Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe promised.
This even as the government mulls ways to partner with others, including Chinese developers of Covid-19 jabs.
However, let it be known that the vaccine is not an overnight antidote to the pandemic, which wiped out in excess of a million jobs in less than six months in 2020.
More than ever before, Kenyans must be alive to the fact that more lockdowns and social distancing - even with a vaccine rollout in place, could be unleashed again to cushion the economy and protect the people.
It is a sobering forecast reiterated by the chief economist of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Laurence Boone, warning that the world has another six to 12 months of pandemic shocks ahead, despite the global vaccine rollout.
How well countries will recover, warns the international economic body, depends on how smooth the rollout of vaccines will be.
More importantly, people must continue with the non-pharmaceutical measures as the government deploys the vaccine, hoping that it will be fast, efficient and secure.
Immediate concerns include fears of new variants of the virus which saw fresh lockdowns in many parts of the world.
For a country like Kenya, which has suffered a lot on the back of the pandemic, firewalls must be steady enough to avoid relapse.
The Treasury must move with speed to help shore up the economy by ensuring there is spending that can excite growth, in the face of this crisis. Even if it means adopting a more relaxed attitude to taxes and managing the budget, so be it.
Whatever it takes, the Purchasing Managers’ Index must be bullish. This would go a long way in ensuring Kenya’s economic fabric is preserved to kick-start robust growth.
Above all, as the OECD warned, the pandemic will deepen inequality, with lower paid workers in informal jobs at most risk.
This therefore calls for more proactive measures to cushion the poorer members in our midst, to ensure a balanced growth of the economy.