Kenya plans to produce additional 60M face masks


Kenya plans to produce additional 60M face masks

Kenya has so far managed to produce 1 million face masks to help in the fight against the new coronavirus, Trade and industrialization Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has announced.

Plans to produce an additional 60 million masks are underway with CS Maina saying Kenya’s four biggest fabric manufacturers will be supplying the needed fabric.

The locally produced masks which have been clinically approved have three layers; an outer layer, a filter and an inner layer and can be used by everyone including health workers.

At the same time CS Maina announced that the Kenya textile industry has also managed to produce protective suits which are disposable for use by the health workers.

The suits which are cheaper than imported ones boast of international standards and have since been approved for use in the country.

The latest comes after the government ordered all users of Matatu and Tuktuks to wear masks.

Speaking on Thursday, CS Kagwe confirmed an additional 29 cases of the new coronavirus, saying the numbers will rise exponentially in the coming days.

“This number I must say is going to rise and rise exponentially. It is important to note that the virus does not move by itself..we must change our behaviours and attitude..,” he said.

Kenya currently has a total of 110 cases all from a cluster of 2050 people who are currently in mandatory quarantine in facilities across the country.

There is concern that the people in quarantine may have infected others who may not be accounted for in the current tally.

That the virus is spread before people feel sick is not news, hence the need for everyone to use a mask while in public.

And even if there was no asymptomatic transmission, universal or near universal mask wearing has its uses.

As others have noted, instructing only the sick to wear masks is essentially asking people to put a sign on themselves inviting fear and hostility, whereas if everyone wears a mask when outside, the sick are more likely to do so, thus protecting people around them.

The masks, have according to research carried out across Asia, been handy in slowing down respiratory infections considerably.

Writing last March, Adrien Burch, an expert in microbiology at the University of California, Berkeley, noted that “despite hearing that face masks ‘don’t work,’ you probably haven’t seen any strong evidence to support that claim. That’s because it doesn’t exist.”

In fact, there is evidence of the exact opposite: that masks help prevent viral infections like the current pandemic.

Burch pointed to a Cochrane Review — a systemic analysis of published studies on a given topic — which found strong evidence during the 2003 SARS epidemic in support of wearing masks.

One study of community transmission in Beijing found that “consistently wearing a mask in public was associated with a 70% reduction in the risk of catching SARS.”

SARS, like Covid-19, is a respiratory illnesses caused by the same family of viruses called coronavirus.

While SARS spread around the world, the worst of the epidemic was focused in Asia, particularly mainland China and Hong Kong

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Story By Tonny Ndungu
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