Barbershop and hair salon attendants have been directed to wear face masks while serving customers under additional public health measures meant to contain the spread of Covid-19 as Kenya’s confirmed infections rose by seven to 179 yesterday.
The government also announced it will hire 500 more doctors to bolster its capacity to treat Covid-19 complications as they arise.
Ministry of Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said the operators would also be required to have sand sanitisers and maintain social distance when working on clients, although it is unclear how they will be able to avoid contact with clients while cutting or braiding hair.
These establishments had been flagged as a potential exposure point for the virus, given the close contact between attendant and clients and the fact that they are frequented by millions of Kenyans.
“As part of the additional measures to help contain the spread of the virus, starting today, all salon and barbershop operators must wear masks while operating on clients, must have hand sanitisers and maintain social distancing,” said Dr Mwangangi.
The announcement that the government would hire more doctors comes even after some differences emerged between the national government and counties over who should oversee the recruitment of 5,000 medical personnel.
Dr Mwangangi also announced that all private testing facilities would be required to share their results with the Ministry of Health for monitoring purposes.
On Tuesday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said all medical workers, including those in private hospitals and rapid response team, would now be subjected to coronavirus test.
Mr Kagwe said testing would also be done on health workers at all facilities holding quarantined persons.
Between Tuesday and yesterday, the government tested 305 people, of which seven were found to be infected with the virus.
Ms Mwangangi said the seven are all Kenyans with travel history from Congo and the US.
Five of these new cases are from Nairobi, one from Mombasa and one from Uasin Gishu.
Two of them were already in a quarantine facility while five were tracked down by the surveillance teams.
Forty-nine out of the 179 cases reported so far are aged between 16 and 29 with the ministry saying that the majority are mild cases and that the government was considering home-based care to decongest hospitals.
The number of recoveries remained unchanged yesterday at seven, while six Kenyans have died from viral disease.