Covid-19: Uproar over extension of quarantine period

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Kenyans and foreigners who have been in quarantine centres where positive Covid-19 cases have been confirmed will now have to extend their stay by another 14 days, the Ministry of Health has ordered.

The directive from the acting Director-General for Health Patrick Amoth to the heads of directorates and all quarantine site in charge on Saturday stated that the extension was informed by the fact that some of those quarantined in the same the facility had tested positive and have since been transferred to the designated isolation centres.

Most of the positive cases in the country have been reported in quarantined centres.

“It has been brought to my attention that some of those quarantined in the same facility have tested positive for Covid-19. This is effect changes their status from quarantined from travel to contacts of positive Covid-19 patients,” said Dr Amoth.

The government had earlier announced 14-day mandatory quarantine in selected hotels and government facilities for all Kenyans arriving from abroad at their own cost as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.


The extension of the days has not been positively received by some of the people who have been in quarantine. They claimed that the government was treating them like prisoners.

Ms Euphine, who came from abroad and has been quarantined at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) said that she was not willing to stay any longer at the centre after the expiry of the initial recommended 14 days. She has two days left to be in quarantine.

“It is not our fault that some of us got infected at the centre but at Kenya Medical Training College, people are socialising normally as if nothing is happening in the country. We share washrooms. How do you expect us to keep distance yet we use the same lifts and dine in the same hall,” she said.

The government expects up to 2,000 people will be placed under mandatory quarantine and has issued guidelines on their handling and living conditions.

The individuals will be quarantined for 14 days in selected hotels and government facilities as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

A document by the Ministry of Health outlines protocols to guide the management of the quarantine states that guests will have their meals delivered at their doorsteps and when they are done eating, the used utensils will be placed in bleach solution provided by the hotel.

 “Why are we still called to go and collect our food and people are mingling? Why is the government taking our lives for granted,” she asked.

 At the centre, she says, five people were picked by ambulance on Friday night and they are suspecting that they were positive.

 “The test was done and no one has communicated to us about our results. We are kept in darkness. How sure are we that the people who have so far been infected and taken to isolation centres infected some of us?” she says.

 She maintained that should the government extend the quarantine period, then they will have to take care of the cost and have her transferred to another centre.

 “If the situation continues to be the same. Then I am afraid we are likely to have more people infected. I want to be transferred to another centre and the government will pay,” she says.

 Mr Cornel Chege said that for the 14 days that he has been in quarantine, his bills have been paid by well-wishers.

“I hurriedly came back home without enough money. I am literally relying on people to pay for my accommodation. How do I tell them again to pay for the additional 14 days? I want to go home,” he said.

He called upon the Ministry of Health to ensure that everyone who was tested gets results and be put in facilities where they can observe social distancing guidelines.

Dr Amoth said the extension was because, those quarantined in various facilities have not maintained optimal social distance, prescribed hygiene measures and have instead had close contacts and interactions.

“These factors facilitate transmission and cross-infection and therefore it is impossible to determine whether those who were quarantined in the facility are actually safe to be released into the general public,” he said.

“We direct that they observe all the advice on social distancing, hygiene measures and to limit interactions during the period after which a repeat testing for Covid-19 shall be undertaken,” he said.

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