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Covid-19: State to issue one million masks for boda boda, PSV operators

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy MIRERI JUNIOR | Fri,Apr 03 2020 16:52:24 EAT
By MIRERI JUNIOR | Fri,Apr 03 2020 16:52:24 EAT


Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe with his Trade and Industrialisation counterpart Betty Maina at a previous media update on coronavirus in the country. The government will begin distributing one million masks for boda boda and matatu operators. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The government will begin distributing one million masks to boda boda, tuk tuk and matatu operators to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Speaking during the daily updates on coronavirus on Friday at Afya House, Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said Kenya Textile Industry is already manufacturing Protective masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for general use and health workers respectively.

“Kenya textile Industry can produce enough masks for the country and PPEs for our health workers,”

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CS Maina said the government has opted to manufacture the masks and PPEs local due to the effect of coronavirus on the global supply chain for medical equipment.

“Masks and PPEs are now needed globally with demand too high in Europe and US making it difficult for us to procure them,” she said.

She said the government is capable of producing 60 million masks within a short period and has already manufactured one million masks which are in the channel destined for distribution.

Maina said the government is banking on locals to be innovative as soon as the production starts and thereby ensure that there is a surplus of such masks across the country.

"I am sure people will be able to be very innovative about it and their prices will retail between Sh5 and Sh20," she said.

Mrs Maina also said plans are underway to manufacture ventilators with samples having been taken to Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) for testing and certification.

She said by next week, if approved to be of the right standards and quality, manufacturing of the ventilators will begin officially.

“Samples have been taken to KEBS for testing and certification, if approved we will begin producing our very own ventilators.”

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe directed passengers on Public Service Vehicles (PSV’s) to wear protective masks after the government warned of a heightened threat of contracting coronavirus.

“We have many people with the virus. Boarding a matatu without a mask means you can easily get infected,” the CS said.

Mrs Maina said he government said local producers are already manufacturing face masks which will be available in the market, with free distribution to boda boda riders.

Health Cabinet Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi said Kenyans must also continue observing all the precautionary measures, at a time the number of people with the virus has jumped to 122 and four deaths following the passing on of a six-year-old boy at Kenyatta National Hospital. 

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