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Over 175,000 Safaricom agents to distribute masks in fight against virus



A Safaricom shop in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 
A Safaricom shop in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has offered its more than 175,000 agents across the country as distribution points for masks and sanitisers to be used in the fight against Covid-19.

Facing import shortages and huge demand, the government has embarked on mass production of hand sanitisers and masks through various agencies and institutions in the country after the first case of coronavirus was reported in mid-March.

“I am pleased to announce that Safaricom has offered to use its more than 175,000 agents to distribute masks and hand sanitisers. We will later appraise on how it will work,” Health Chief Administration Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi announced on Wednesday.

“We call upon other institutions and corporates to continue lending a helping hand to the fight of the virus,” she said.

The government has been calling from partnership initiatives between the private sector, counties, development partners as well as individuals to stem the spread of the virus and help combat its effect especially on the vulnerable.

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Dr Mwangangi also said that the Kenya Prisons would be join in mask making as government scales up the availability of personal protective equipment for health workers as well as the public.

“We continue to make a special plea to people in possession of oxygen cylinders and not in use to release them to serve people in critical care who may require oxygen supplementation,”’ she said.

The CAS announced that seven more cases of the Covid-19 were confirmed out of 305 people tested in the last 24 hours, bringing total cases to 179.

Two of the cases are from mandatory quarantine facilities, while the other five were picked by surveillance teams, Dr Mwangangi said.

She added that the one patient who had been under critical care and was on ventilator support had improved and moved to the general ward.

The other 178 patients, she added, have either moderate to mild symptoms and that home-based care would be considered for them.

Dr Mwangangi said three out of all confirmed cases were 15-year-olds or younger, 49 were in the age 15-29 group, 113 in the age 30-59 group and only 13 above age 60.

"Looking at age distribution, the coronavirus disease is affecting the more productive members of our society. This means we need to take charge and observe the interventions put in place," she said.

In addition to measures laid out by government, Dr Mwangangi said all salon and barbershop operators are required to wear face masks as they attend to their clients. They are also required to provide them with sanitisers.

So far, the government has tested 5,278 individuals.

The Covid-19 disease, which was first reported in Wuhan, China in December, has killed at least 83,257 people worldwide with at least 1,445,911 infections.

Some 309,113 people have recovered globally, according to Worldometer's count on Wednesday.

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