The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has banned the importation of mitumba (used garments and shoes) in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement issued in Nairobi on Tuesday, 31st March, Kebs said: “As a precautionary measure, we wish to notify the general public and all importers of used garments and shoes that it is hereby prohibited with immediate effect, until further notice.

“This is pursuant to the declaration of coronavirus/Covid-19 as a global pandemic and in line with the requirements of the applicable Kenya Standards, the codes of practice for inspection and acceptance of used garments and footwear, that no consignment of mitumba shall be accepted from countries experiencing an epidemic,” said the standards body.

On 25th March, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives suspended the importation of second-hand clothes to protect Kenyans from the deadly virus.

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The ministry stated that the directive was also aimed at promoting the local textile industry.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho on Monday also banned mitumba trade in the county to curb Covid-19 spread. The county has so far recorded three positive cases.

Kenyan traders import second-hand clothes and shoes from Europe, Asia and North America for sale in open-air markets or stalls in towns. The United States has been hit by rising coronavirus infections.

Europe was recently declared the new epicentre of the coronavirus. The first case of the virus was reported in China, a country of over a billion people, but which has now managed to suppress its spread.

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Zablon Ondari

I am a journalist, who is passionate about writing articles. This interest carried me through the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication and now I am in the industry and this continues. I have some extensive experience in writing human interest stories, sports and politics. I am self-motivated but a team player. Find out more about me on Facebook, Instagram as Zablon Riro and on Twitter @RiroZablon. E-mail