Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) chief executive officer Jonah Manjari. Picture: Twiiter/KEMSA
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) chief executive officer Jonah Manjari. Picture: Twiiter/KEMSA

Kenyan govt bans firms from exporting face masks

By Thembelihle Mkhonza Time of article published Mar 3, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - The Kenya government has announced a ban on the export of face masks, aiming to ensure that the country was well-prepared for coronavirus that has infected about 90,000 people across 58 countries.

The ban comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta gave an executive order to set up a National Emergency Response Committee which would guide Kenya’s preparedness for the coronavirus, according to the Soko Directory.

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

The demand for face masks and gloves has skyrocketed since the coronavirus started to spread like a wildfire across the world, according to the publication.

Manjari revealed that the government also placed orders for emergency materials and medicines that would be required in the wake of a coronavirus outbreak.

The Soko Directory reported that Chinese customers were now ordering face masks for export from Kenya and other African countries, that has lead the stock for face masks and other protective clothing to decline and to curb the low supply in China.

Reports indicated that the Chinese government can only produce 20 million masks per day, which is only half of the needed amount.

According to manufacturers and distributors of the face masks, the price of a 50-pack box of masks has shot up from around 200 shillings before the coronavirus outbreak, to nearly 1000 shillings in Kenya.

Manjari said that Kemsa had also been given the types of masks to procure, the protective gear, and the number of beds to procure, and medicines to treat symptomatic conditions, these were products to treat fever, pneumonia and oxygen-for those who require to be put in ICU.

African News Agency

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