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Kenya Police patrol vast Kibra slums, Nairobi. The police have taken a door to door campaign of mandatory wearing of protective face masks in public places to help fight the spread of coronavirus. [Elvis Ogina , Standard]

Police have been given fresh orders on how they will handle those arrested for failing to wear face masks.

The same instructions apply to those flouting curfew and partial lockdown. Field officers have been ordered to file daily returns on the crimes to police headquarters for action.

This follows a directive by the ministry of health on various measures to be followed to enable it to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Head of police operations Henry Barmao told police to arrest those who fail to wear masks or those wearing but fail to cover the mouth and nose.

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“Similarly, mount roadblocks to ensure no movement of vehicles and persons after the commencement of 7 pm curfew hours except those exempted and listed as essential service providers. All vehicles and persons found violating the orders to be detained and charged with contravening curfew orders and submit daily returns on the same…,” he said in an internal memo dated May 15.

The officers were given a format to be followed in booking in suspects starting with persons not wearing masks by name and age, those contravening the curfew orders, vehicles affected and action taken.

Hundreds have since been arrested and are slated for prosecution.

The move came a day before President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a 21-day extension of the country's nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew as the number of new daily COVID-19 infections hit a record rise, with 49 new cases registered.

The president also extended a ban on travel into and out of Nairobi Metropolitan Area, the counties of Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and Mandera to June 6, 2020, the same date the curfew is expected to end.

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"The whole world is walking through the valley of the shadow of death," President Kenyatta said as he urged Kenyans to remain vigilant against the disease.

"We have a brutal and unforgiving enemy in our midst. This enemy is trying to gain entry using every door, every window, every crack. It is asking every single Kenyan to sneak it in so it can attack all of us."

President Kenyatta also ordered the closure of Kenya's borders with Tanzania and Somalia in a bid to halt the import of new Covid-19 cases from the two countries. The border will only be open to cargo shipments. All drivers of the cargo vehicles will, however, have to undergo tests before being allowed into Kenya.

The president said his administration would not only work to protect lives from the Covid-19 pandemic but also plan for the country's recovery from the economic battering it takes from the crisis.

"We will emerge knowing that we have a mighty strength in our unity and our resilience as a people shall see us through this most difficult period," he said.

SEE ALSO: Daily Covid-19 cases edge close to 500

He noted that unlike other countries that had begun easing lockdown measures, Kenya did not need to follow suit until there is a decline in Covid-19 infections.

"I am as anxious as all of you, to get back to building this country. However, we will only be able to do this the sooner we sharply suppress the growth of infections."

Police Covid-19 pandemic Face masks Curfew and lock down
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