Kenyans have had to look for masks that offer comfort and maximum protection because the face covering has become a mandatory requirement to contain the coronavirus.

But people will not be allowed to enter Aga Khan University Hospital while wearing a mask with breathing valves.

In a statement, the hospital’s management said such masks only protect the wearer but pose a risk to those around them.

“The design of these masks allows air to be filtered, but the exhaled air is not,” the statement reads.

According to the CDC, this type of mask is made for hot and dusty construction work.

“Masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting Covid-19 to others,” the CDC says.

It recommends simple cloth masks, adding that a few layers of cotton prevent most of the potentially infectious respiratory droplets from escaping into the surrounding air.

WHO says the use of masks is likely to reduce potential exposure risk from infected asymptomatic persons, reduce potential stigmatisation and make people feel they can play a role in stopping the spread of the virus.

“Amid the global shortage of surgical masks and PPE, encouraging the public to make their own fabric masks may promote individual enterprise and community integration,” it says.