The Kenya Red Cross Society has issued a notice to the public to exercise caution after flagging a new crop of con-artists.
The cautionary note issued on March 21, 2020, highlighted that a group of persons claiming to work for the Red Cross had been distributing masks at bus stops.
The persons, operating under the banner of Red Cross Staff Volunteers have been advancing the claims that the proffered masks would offer protection against the novel Covid-19.
“Our attention has been drawn to reports that persons purporting to be Kenya Red Cross Society staff/ volunteers are distributing masks in public service bus (matatu) stops claiming that such masks will protect them from contracting the Coronavirus,” read the statement in part.
The Red Cross Society distanced itself from the distribution, asserting that it is not supplying masks to the public and has no intention of doing so in the future.
“We would like to advise members f te public that the Kenya Red Cross Society is not and has no plans of carrying out such distribution. We urge Kenyans to be vigilant and not fall victim to such con games,” clarified the statement.
The society urged the public to continue adherence to government advice regarding Covid-19, including maintaining hygiene standards, practising social distancing as well as avoiding crowded places.
The organisation further clarified that it would share any information regarding its operations strictly through its official channels in case the public wishes to verify any information and avoid falling prey to the aforementioned scammers and their ilk.
Just a few days prior, a report filed with the police revealed that a band of thieves posing as good samaritans were handing out free masks to motorists along the Busia-Kisumu Highway.
These unsuspecting individuals, unaware that the masks had been treated, would wake up at the end of their trip only to find their valuables missing.
While the buying of masks is indicative of Kenyans taking every necessary precaution to protect themselves, experts have highlighted that masks may have limited utility for the general public.
Face masks have been cited as being effective only in cases where one is in close contact with an infected person, they are for this reason, invaluable to health workers.
However, the masks have little effectiveness for persons walking around town or taking a bus, so bulk buying is discouraged.