Dozens of residents of Mathare slums in Maragua town, Murang’a County were duped by unscrupulous traders into purchasing fake face masks resembling women’s underwear in a bid to protect themselves from contracting coronavirus.
The slum dwellers were pictured covering their mouths and noses with the masks that one would mistake for panties.
Those interviewed by a local vernacular TV station said they were attracted to the fake face masks due to their low price. A proper face mask that can prevent one from catching Covid-19 is currently retailing at an average cost of Sh100, which many Kenyans cannot afford.
But some dishonest traders have taken advantage of the high demand for face masks in the country and are making and selling fake products to Kenyans.
They are selling the masks for as low as Sh20 but this covers are useless and cannot prevent one from getting infected with the disease.
The villagers said they only realized later that they had been duped and have pleaded with the government to supply them with proper masks that are effective in containing Covid-19.
“In order to avoid being arrested by police officers for not wearing masks, we have been forced to buy the panty-like masks at Sh20 each. We are not even sure if the masks can protect us against coronavirus,” one villager said.
The government last week directed Kenyans to wear face masks in matatus, supermarkets, open-air markets and any other public places as part of the measures to stem the transmission of the bug.
Kenyans found without face masks in public risk a fine of Sh20,000 or a jail term not exceeding six months, according to a gazette notice published by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.