No more mitumba imports as government moves in to tame coronavirus infections now at 31

Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi. [Photo Courtesy]

Kenya recorded three new cases of coronavirus putting the total tally at 31.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr Mercy Mwangangi in a presser on Thursday said the new infections are from people who had made contact with already infected people.

She added that the three are all Kenyans.

This comes as the government suspended the importation of second-hand clothes locally referred to as ‘mitumba’.

Trade Secretary Betty Maina stated that the decision was arrived at with the intent to protect Kenyans and also promote local apparels.

“Importation of used clothes is suspended with immediate effect to safeguard the health of Kenyans and promote local textiles,” she averred.

However, all mitumba imports are fumigated before being shipped and a health certificate is issued by the relevant authorities from the country of origin.

“All mitumbas have to be imported according to the standards. They (importers) have to comply,” CS Maina told the Star.

For clothes, they are wrapped in a transparent bag of not more than 50kgs while shoes are packed the same way but in bags that do not exceed 25 kgs.

In 2018, Kenya imported 177,160 tonnes of mitumba estimated to cost approximately Sh17 billion, data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicate.

The US is Kenya’s largest importer of second-hand clothes followed by the UK and China.