Home-made masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 must be made of 100 per cent cotton, the Health ministry has announced.
The masks should also be at least 10 by 6 inches to be able to cover the nose and mouth and must allow the wearer breath through.
“The masks will be for one individual and should not be tried on and returned or shared at any one point,” states the Health ministry's guidelines.
Cloth masks can be reusable as long as they are washed daily using hot water and soap. One needs to wash their hands before and after handling the mask.
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Medical masks (surgical and N-95) should not be used by the general public but preserved for health workers.
Cloth masks, should not be placed on young children aged under two years, and anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the it without assistance.
Maintaining social distance, the ministry states, must be observed even while wearing masks.
“Maintaining social distance remains important to slowing down the spread of the virus as well as hand washing, use of sanitisers for hand hygiene,” states the ministry.
The guidelines on homemade masks comes in the backdrop of an earlier acknowledgment by the health ministry and the Kenya Bureau of Standards that homemade masks only provide minimal prevention against coronavirus infection.
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The ministry, in the guidelines further states that usage of gloves has not had any significant backing by research that it can prevent infection of coronavirus, but acknowledges it is a good hygiene behaviour.
“The most useful thing to do is clean hands frequently especially when one suspects their hands are contaminated or example after touching surfaces even if they are not physically dirty. Avoid touching your face,” says the Ministry.
Wearing gloves throughout could lead to transmission of other infections spread by dirty gloves.
“The risk of one touching their faces with dirty gloves is high given that research finds that unintentional face touching occurs up to an average of 25 times within an hour. Gloves tear easily or they may have tiny holes which compromises their integrity” states the ministry.
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The guidelines follow a gazette notice on the repercussions Kenyans will face from the law if they are found in public spaces without a mask on.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Kenyans should not to relent on the directives issued until the country succeeds in completely containing the spread of the virus.
Kagwe said between Saturday and Sunday, six more people out of a sample of 766 had tested positive for the virus.
The six new cases comprise of five Kenyans and one foreign national: Nairobi had four new cases, while Siaya and Mombasa had one each.
“Two have a history of recent foreign travel from the Middle East, while one recently travelled from Mombasa. The other three cases have no recent travel history,” he said.
Their age group is between 25 and 59.
Five of the cases emerged from people in mandatory quarantine, while the other one was picked from contact tracing.
So far, the government agencies have traced and monitored 2,160 persons out of which 1,660 have been discharged. Some 500 contacts are still on follow up.
A total of 7,449 samples have been tested.