Majority of Garissa residents have been forced to adjust their spending pattern, with more funds now going to restock their foodstuffs in case of a total lockdown after the country recorded a sharp increases in covid-19 infections.
According to residents who talked to KNA on phone Wednesday, the spending trends have drastically changed for the past one month with foodstuffs topping their shopping list.
A secondary school teacher in Balambala sub-county who resides in Garissa town Mohamed Salan has been forced to adjust his budget to accommodate the most essential items in order to sustain a family of 5 children and wife.
“I been following closely how the virus has been spreading worldwide and more so Italy. From my own assessment, Kenya could be headed for a possible lockdown if Kenyans’ don’t stop downplaying the danger of the Coronavirus,” Salan said.
“When I walk through the streets of Garissa town and watch how the residents are taking government directives casually, I get scared,” he added.
He said under normal circumstances he stocks food rations that would last his family for two weeks.
“But as things stands, I am thinking of stocking food that would last for one and half months for now. I will revise as days go by,” he said.
“This means that I have to put more money on foodstuffs. Other items for now are not very necessary. Clothing and household items can for the time being take a back seat,” Salan noted.
Halima Hussein, an employee of the Garissa county government said her dream of acquiring a commercial plot from the ‘little’ savings she had made for the past 6 months have been dashed.
Halima who is married with two children said she supports her elderly mother and three of her siblings who are jobless.
“I am concerned about my extended family. My priority is to stock foodstuff for them that will at least last for a month. I have also put on hold other spending until the virus, God willing is contained,” she said.
Meanwhile, the businesses dealing in textiles, clothing and household goods have recorded low sales since the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
According to Hellen Kasyoka who deals in second hand clothing at the Garissa open air market, the number of customers have dropped to its lowest in years.
“Even during the height of insecurity occasioned by Al-Shabaab attacks, we had could make ends meet,” Kasyoka who has been in the business for 10 years said.
“Since the Corona outbreak, we hardly make sales. No customer has popped into my stall for the past three days leave alone to buy but to inquire. If this continues I might close shop,” she said.
She said that three of her colleagues have closed shop and left for their rural homes.
Kasyoka pleaded with Kenyans to take the government directives seriously ‘lest this disease brings the country’s economy to its knees’.
By Tuesday, positive cases in the country were at 50 and worldwide deaths were slightly above 37,000 with US leading the highest number of infections.
The ministry of health as warned that the number of infection could hit 10, 000 in the country if stringent measures are not put in place to stop the spread of the virus.
By Jacob Songok