Coronavirus: Kenyan firms banned from exporting face masks

Tuesday March 3 2020

A woman wearing a protective face mask and gloves.

Kenya has banned export of respirator masks. PHOTO | FILE | AFP  

ANNIE NJANJA
By ANNIE NJANJA
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Kenya has banned export of respirator masks in the latest measures against the novel coronavirus disease that has infected more than 89,000 people across 58 countries, killing over 3,000.

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) chief executive officer Jonah Manjari on Monday said the government had banned local manufacturers and distributors from exporting N95 AND 3 ply surgical masks “to ensure that the country has enough stock as part of its emergency plan.”

Dr Manjari also revealed that the government had also placed orders for emergency materials and medicine that the country would require in the wake of a coronavirus outbreak.

This follows last week’s executive order by President Uhuru Kenyatta that set up a 22-member emergency committee to guide the country’s preparedness for the disease.

The task force is spearheading preparation of national, county and private isolation and treatment facilities, as well as marshalling local and international human resources.

“Kemsa has been given the types (of masks) to procure, the protective gear, and number of beds to procure, and medicines to treat symptomatic conditions— these are products to treat fever, pneumonia and oxygen-for those who require to be put in ICU,” said Dr Manjari

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“Today alone, we will procure two million masks. Local companies have the capacity to supply, we have one that produces 130,000 units in a day…the emergency procurement process has started.”

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