A Kicotec worker sewing face masks at the company's factory in kitui
Kenya is set to manufacture 60 million face masks to boost its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the government has said.
Speaking during a media briefing on Friday, Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said the protective masks will be produced by four biggest fabric manufacturers in the country.
She noted that the locally produced masks contain three layers; an outer layer, a filter, and an inner layer, and have clinically been approved for use by everyone including health workers.
In addition, CS Maina said the factories will produce protective suits that are disposable for use by medics. Both the masks and suits are cheaper than imported ones.
The four Kenyan garment makers include Rift Valley Textile Company (Rivatex) and Kitui County Textile Center (Kicotec).
On Thursday, the government ordered all users of public transport to wear masks as part of the measures to stem the spread of the virus with Health CS Mutahi Kagwe warning of a rise in the number of infections.
“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 behaviors and attitude..,” he said.
Kenya on Friday confirmed 12 new cases of Covid-19, raising the total number of infections to 22. Four patients have recovered while four, including a six-year-old boy, have died.