- "We will now take a step forward to make sure everyone wears the mask."
- Some Kenyans say they are not able to afford such expensive costumes, starting at Sh50.
- Many citizens continued to ignore the new provisions.
Police in Kenya began arresting people walking without masks on Tuesday after Inspector General Hillary Mutanzai said the grace period had expired. Mr. Muntazai issued the order a few days after the terms were published in the official Government Gazette. According to Mr. Mutanzai, Kenyans were given enough time to practice walking with face masks whenever they stepped outside their homes, so there was no reason to relax the requirement.
“The virus is now domiciled across the length and breadth of our republic — from down south in Kilifi to Mandera in the north. And from the west in Vihiga to Kitui in the east,” Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi warned on Tuesday. It was not long before several people were already arrested in various parts of Nairobi. Before the order was issued, the police had always used gentlemanly methods to remind citizens to buy face masks if they found them in public.
“Police have been cooperating with the public to ask them to wear masks. We will now take a step forward to make sure everyone wears the mask. But first I want to ask Kenyans to do so willingly, ”said Mr. Mutanzaiai. He was speaking when he received 200,000 face masks to be used by police from the National Treasury (NSSF) and the Kenya Promise Agency. The use of face masks has been proven to reduce the spread of coronavirus in many countries of the world.
However, some Kenyans say they are not able to afford such expensive costumes, starting at Sh50, each time due to poor economic conditions. Instead, they recommend the government to offer them free of charge. Government spokesperson, Ret. Col. Cyrus Oguna yesterday said the government was developing plans to start supplying face masks to low-income communities. According to the terms published last week, anyone found out without a face mask will be fined KSh20,000 ( $190) or imprisoned for six months.
Many citizens continued to ignore the new provisions. For example, the Mayor of the Nyayo region warned residents that they risked their own lives by neglecting to wear masks while on the street. In addition to this, many have come together to ignore government requirements. “On the streets, people interact with each other arbitrarily and do not appear to be frightened by the coronavirus,” the local district chairman, Mr. Mohammed Hussein said. That was when the number of infections continued to rise in the country yesterday.
Assistant Minister of Health, Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said within a 24-hour period, eight out of 694 medical people were diagnosed with coronavirus. Five of them are Kenyan citizens, and three are British, Pakistani and Ugandan citizens. Six of them were found in Nairobi, one in Siaya and the other in Nakuru. One person was confirmed to recover and resulted in a total number of those who recovered reached 41. However, Dr. Mwangangi said those who survived would still be monitored as it was noted in other countries, there were people who survived but were later found with the virus.
Nairobi still has the highest number of 101 infections, followed by Mombasa (34), and Kilifi (10). Meanwhile, lawmakers, yesterday approved the government’s move to reduce value-added tax (VAT) to reduce the price of basic goods at a time when Kenyans are facing challenges caused by the coronavirus crisis. They did so by approving the Committee’s report on Alternative Law presented to parliament by member Tharaka Gitonga Murugara (Tharaka MP), on behalf of the committee’s chairman Gladys Shollei (Representative Member of Uasin Gishu).
However, some legislators, such as Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Edge Mulu (Central Button), and Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri) rejected claiming Sh49.5 billion would be wasted by helping poor families.
But their statements were challenged by their peers led by the leader of the majority, Aden Duale, who said that the move would lead to a decline in the prices of basic commodities such as flour, milk, and sugar, which the poor rely on. The Garissa Urban MP called on businesses to reduce the price of goods as a step to support the government’s efforts to care for ordinary Kenyans.