Health CS Kagwe has directed that anyone visiting an open area including supermarkets must wear a mask.
Speaking on Saturday when he revealed 4 more cases of coronavirus in Kenya, the CS said this will help curb transmission.
“We are urging any person visiting a supermarket or open air market to begin wearing protective masks immediately,” he said.
The CS also averred that the Government is now able to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
He assured health workers that they will now be secure going forward.
His statements come on the backdrop of complaints from medics over the lack of protective gear for frontline workers.
On Saturday morning, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) had lamented saying coronavirus exposed the country’s weakest link.
According to the Chairperson Dr. Samuel Oroko, scarcity of human resources and equipment for medical services is the underbelly of Kenya’s health sector.
“The union has allocated Ksh.3million from its internal resources as a seed amount in the fight against COVID-19. We prevail on the government that development money be be re-allocated to help in efforts to fight the disease,” he said.
Americans urged to wear non-medical masks
Meanwhile, the U.S. government is recommending that all Americans should wear non-medical masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The new guidelines, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amid the coronavirus pandemic, were announced Friday by President Donald Trump.
Trump stressed the recommendation was voluntary and said he would not be following it.
“You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it,” he told reporters.
“Somehow, sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I just don’t see it,” Trump elaborated.
Some lack symptoms
The U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, said donning the masks was, however, a good idea to try to prevent the virus from spreading, since many infected with it do not show any symptoms.
“We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms,” he said. “This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, coughing, speaking or sneezing.”
The president and other officials stressed that people should not use the medical-grade masks, which are in short supply and needed by first responders and health professionals.
“The CDC is recommending that Americans wear a basic cloth or fabric mask that can be either purchased online or simply made at home,” Trump said.
He also announced that he was invoking the Defense Production Act to halt the export of “scarce health and medical supplies by unscrupulous actors and profiteers.
“We need these items immediately for domestic use,” Trump said. “We have to have them.”
Canada, meanwhile, warned the Trump administration about halting the supply of masks to its neighbor and ally.
“The level of integration between our economies goes both ways across the border,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
“It would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back-and-forth trade of essential goods and services, including medical goods, across our border. That is the point we’re making to the American administration right now.”
Canada will “pull out all the stops” to prevent the United States from blocking the exports of some medical equipment, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
Additional report from VOA