The trend is common among persons seeking to enter institutions like schools, hospitals and offices like banking halls where it is mandatory to wear face masks.
One asks for a mask from another to enable them enter and be served, after which they return the mask to the owner.
Residents of Lamu county have been warned against sharing face masks.
The move is risky and could easily lead to the spread of coronavirus.
The trend is common among persons seeking to enter institutions like schools, hospitals and offices like banking halls where it is mandatory to wear face masks before being attended to.
One normally borrows a mask from another to enable them enter and be served after which they return the mask to the owner.
Administrators are worried that the move can easily contribute to the spread of the virus as many people don’t know the status of those they share masks with.
On Wednesday, Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia said the trend was the highest level of ignorance, which could spike the number of infections in the region.
Lamu has so far recorded 142 cases of Covid-19 and six deaths since the disease broke out in March.
The administrator warned that those found exchanging or sharing face masks will be promptly arrested to face similar charges as those found not wearing a face mask.
“How can people possibly be sharing face masks at this time when we all know there is a pandemic we need to protect ourselves from? That’s so ignorant and reckless and we shall have you prosecuted for it,” Macharia said.
He called on the public to be cautious and refrain from practices and habits that could expose them to the virus.
He said the number of Covid-19 deaths in Lamu had risen in recent days and asked locals to beware of all safety protocols.
County Health executive Anne Gathoni said locals have no reason to share face masks as the county had ensured they are regularly distributed to the public for free.
“The second wave of the pandemic is here, deadlier than ever. We need to be careful and take all precautions,” Gathoni said.
Last month, US marines based at the Manda Naval base donated 200,000 free re-washable face masks to locals in Lamu.
Edited by Henry Makori