Coronavirus: Not wearing a face mask is now a crime in Kenya

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The government has gazetted hefty penalties for Kenyans, including a fine of Sh20,000 or a six months’ imprisonment or both if found breaking directives issued in line with the Public Health Act.

The prescribed punishment is aimed at ensuring strict adherence to safety measures outlined by the Ministry of Health in combating COVID-19.

Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai Tuesday said the grace period for adjusting to the regulations given by President Kenyatta has expired and that anyone violating them will be taken to court.

Kenya’s Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai

A Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 41 signed by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe indicated that failure to wear a mask while using public or private transport and failure to maintain social distance are among the offences that will attract the penalties.

According to the Legal notice no.50 of public health act cap. 242 on the restriction of movement of persons and related measures dated April 6, 2020, every person walking in a public place would be required to adhere to safety measures prescribed by the Ministry of Health or risk arrest and prosecution.

During the weekend, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe gazetted a list of hefty penalties against violators.

Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe

“Users of public or private transport and public transport operators shall wear proper masks that must cover the mouth and nose. They should also maintain a physical distance of not less than a metre,” Mr Kagwe said in the Kenya Gazette Supplement No 41.

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