NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 4 -The government now says manufactures have assured it of their capacity to produce up t0 60 million masks for immediate distribution, as Kenyans braved for tougher measures ahead to prevent the spread of coronavirus that has killed four people so far in the country, and infected 122 others.
Four people have recovered, including Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi who was arrested on Friday when he was discharged from Coast General Hospital where he was forcefully quarantined after roaming around for days oblivious of a government directive on self-isolation for anyone who was arriving from countries with COVID-19. He is expected in court on Monday.
Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina on Friday said that garment manufacturers have enough materials in stock that can produce up to 60 million masks which can be distributed immediately.
“What have I assurance of is the materials we currently have in stock among our fabric manufacturers is sufficient to make 60 million masks immediately,” she said.
She said the Government had instructed fabric manufacturers to make the materials available to tailors countrywide to boost the supply of the masks.
“The government has Instructed them (fabric manufacturers ) get in touch with distribution chains and make it available to tailors and people in villages,” she said during the daily media briefing on COVID-19.
Maina said that the protective masks should not cost more than Sh 20, and could go as low as Sh5.
The CS said that one million masks are already in circulation and in the distribution channels.
Besides the masks, the Trade CS said the Kenyan textile industry is capable and will produce personal protective gear mainly used by medics.
She further advised Kenyans to use three-ply masks with three layers that include a filter that is more efficient to prevent the virus infection.
“When you go out to buy (a mask), ensure that you can detect that it has three plies, one inner layer, an outer layer (the darker part is the outer layer) and a filter inside,” she said and warned against the use of woven clothes in preventing the virus that remains a global pandemic with more than a million infections and over 50,000 deaths.
In addition, she said, the government will Monday release certification from Kenya Bureau of Standard (KEBS) that will allow the local industry sector to produce protective gear and masks.
“The samples of the protective gear were presented to KEBS for testing and confirmation of compliance and starting Monday, we will have the discharge of receipts,” she said.