The National government has started distributing 9,000 free facemasks to the low income earners and the underprivileged citizens within Garissa town.
Speaking on Wednesday when he issued 400 facemasks to bodaboda riders operating within Garissa town, the area County Commissioner (CC), Meru Mwangi said that the government remains committed to ensuring that it limits the spread of highly infectious Coronavirus among Kenyans.
Mwangi said that bodaboda is an important sector and that is why the government is concerned about the riders and their passengers’ safety.
He called on the bodaboda riders to adhere to the government guidelines of carrying one passenger at any one given time to avoid contracting the virus.
The County Commissioner stressed the need for the riders and their passengers to put on facemasks at all times and not when the spot police officers or approach road blocks.
“There are those who hurriedly put on facemasks when they spot police officers or when approaching the Tana bridge police barrier. You put on the facemask for your own safety and not to evade police arrest,” Mwangi said.
“This disease is real and is killing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. It is with us and we should be vigilant to avoid contracting the virus,” he added.
The masks were also issued to the flood victims camping at Young Muslim area in Garissa town.
Mwangi said that each of the six sub-counties of Ijara, Hulugho, Fafi, Dadaab, Lagdera and Balambala will receive 1,000 masks each.
The administrator urged Garissa residents to follow guidelines provided by the ministry of health which include washing hands with soap and running water, keeping social distancing among others to avoid contracting the virus.
He said that although no cases have been reported in Garissa County, the residents should remain alert because neighbouring county of Wajir yesterday reported 5 cases.
The Garissa town bodaboda rider’s association chair, Maxwell Onyango thanked the government for recognizing the important role the sector is playing and the risks they are faced with in the midst of the Corona virus threat.
Onyango said that the directive that they provide facemasks to their customers is unrealistic and thus the government should insist that all Kenyan must own facemasks.
“If you issue each customer with a facemask which costs Sh. 50 and you charge him or her Sh. 50, then it’s as if you are giving them free rides,” Onyango said.
He said that the 400 facemasks they received was not enough given that there are over 3,000 bodaboda riders in Garissa town alone. The riders also received sanitizers.
By Jacob Songok