KEBS Warns Kenyans Against Reusable Face Masks On The Streets

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The demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during this COVID-19 pandemic globally keeps growing. In Kenya, the government has channelled some of its resources to large scale production of these PPEs which will be supplied to health workers at the frontline battling the virus. According to health CS Mutahi Kagwe, the PPEs will be available to the public after which they will be able to acquire them at a standard price.

In a press briefing on the status of COVID-19 in the country yesterday, CAS Mercy Mwangangi announced 178 cases in the country and necessitated that everyone in the public should put on face masks. At the moment a face mask on the street fetches between Ksh 100 to Ksh 200 depending on the quality. Entrepreneurs across the country have jumped on the business opportunity to make a killing. A majority of the are using reusable materials which are affordable.

On Thursday, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) together with the Ministry of Health, cautioned the public against reusable masks. They gave directions that only wearing surgical masks could help prevent COVID-19, although the public has been asked to put them on. KEBS insisted that no  Kenyan standardization exists for woven masks, as cloth coverings made of woven fabrics may offer limited protection against droplets.

“The general public must take caution that such cloth coverings do not guarantee protection against COVID-19. Members of the public are advised to wash the re-usable Face Masks with soap and water before use,” reads a joint press statement.

With limited availability of the PPEs, healthcare workers and patients have been advised to use face masks certified by KEBS to protect themselves from the virus.

“Kindly note that there is a limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE’s) for health workers including surgical masks and N-95 respirators. The general public is encouraged to leave these masks to the healthcare workers and the patients,” the KEBS press release read.

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