Mutahi Kagwe, the Health CS on Wednesday, May 6, announced the waiver of quarantine fees in government isolation facilities a bid to encourage the public to show up for mass Covid-19 testing.
Several Kenyans had expressed huge reservations against participating in the urgent mass testing in targeted areas over the fear of being slapped with hefty quarantine fees if found positive.
Mass testing has been rolled out in a number of areas including Eastleigh and Kawangware in Nairobi, and Mombasa’s Old Town area that have been registering the highest number of infections.
Speaking in the daily Covid-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Kagwe urged Kenyans to co-operate since the biggest impediment to testing had been eliminated.
“The government has also said that the cost of targeting testing and quarantine of government quarantine facilities shall be met by the government.
“Kenyans should therefore forthwith not be afraid… Let me repeat that, effective today government quarantine facilities will be occupied by those told to do so by the Ministry of Health and will be quarantined at the facilities free of charge.
“This is to facilitate those who may feel that they do not want to go for testing because of the cost of quarantine. That is no longer the case,” said Kagwe.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s measures dealing with COVID-19 as compared with other Afrcian countries with Cameroon for instance ensuring having already ensured mandatory quarantine was free for patients among other lessons the country could learn from her neighbours.
For the better part of April 2020, Kenyans were treated to heartbreaking videos of Kenyans unable to foot their quarantine bills with some resorting to sneaking out and others threatening to commit suicide.
On Tuesday April 21, a number of people escaped the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) quat=rantine facility in Nairobi over their inability to afford the cost of quarantine.
In Mombasa, the county government had to step in after a family was held at a Port Reitz facility due to a bill of Ksh475,000. 17 family members had been quarantined there after their father tested positive of Covid-19.
Earlier in March, Kenyans returning from abroad expressed their disappointment with hefty bills they incurred on mandatory quarantine with one woman committing suicide.