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Kenyans Joke with death by selling used face masks

By Judah Ben-Hur | April 20th 2020
One-time use surgical mask. [photo: Shutterstock]

Numerous images online have revealed a dark side of people who have underestimated the brutal hand of Covid-19 and decided to sell used facemasks to the public.

With a government directive requiring Kenyans to put on masks at all times, this new unregulated product has started being sold by anyone who can access them. A walk around Nairobi CBD curves a picture of hundreds of hawkers selling masks of different designs; some sealed and many handled with naked hands.

It is this unregulated product that has led to a number of Kenyans collecting used surgical masks, washing them and presenting them as new to the innocent and unsuspecting public in need of the scarce commodity.

A video of a man in Makadara area shows him washing and hanging dozen of used one-time use surgical masks in the bush along a river. A different picture shows women washing the same type of masks using toothbrushes to prevent them from ripping apart.

Women washing used masks.

Ministry of Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangagi condemned the new practice calling it unacceptable and criminal.

“We are going to be rolling out guidelines on the disposal of facemask and we shall crack the whip on anyone found endangering the lives of fellow Kenyans for selfish Gains,” said Dr. Mwangagi

The CAS also advised Kenyans to undertake basic due diligence on the facemasks they are buying to avoiding falling victim to using already used and possible contaminated masks.

Like many of the novel challenges that have come with the coronavirus, the government has been forced to stay on its feet and face them head-on or risk a disaster.

Authorities have put in place measures to ensure that the police, the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KEBS) and the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) work to ensure that the mask issue is under control.

As such careless activities continue mushrooming in the country, the number of Covid-19 cases continues to increase. Kenya has a total of 270 infections and 14 deaths, numbers that haven’t shown any sign of a negative trajectory.

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