Anyone in Kenya found not wearing a face mask in public places during the coronavirus outbreak – including inside private vehicles – is now subject to arrest, the country’s top cop says.
Kenya’s government published a law last week which imposes a fine of $200 and a jail term of six months, or both, for anyone found not wearing a mask in public as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID-19.
“Now it is compulsory to put the face masks [on],” Hillary Mutyambai, the inspector general of police, told reporters Wednesday, explaining how the grace period for residents to acquire and get used to wearing masks is over. “I’ve instructed the police officers to enforce this.”
“It is for the good of the people to use face masks,” he added.
The law mandates the use of masks in vehicles as well.
“Users of public or private transport and public transport operators shall wear proper masks that must cover the mouth and nose,” Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said over the weekend, according to the Daily Nation newspaper. “They should also maintain a physical distance of not less than a meter.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta said last week that all movement by rail, road and air in and out of the Nairobi metropolitan area will halt. The country also has a dusk-to-dawn curfew in place.
Kenya, as of Wednesday, has 225 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 10 deaths, statistics show.