Is Self-Quarantine Failing in Kenya? [VIDEO]

  • A tout stands watch at the matatu doors armed with a hand sanitizer, sterile gloves and a mask.
    A tout stands at a matatu door armed with a hand sanitiser, sterile gloves and a mask.
  • Concern has risen in various parts of the country over the Ministry of Health self-quanrantine requirements for all arrivals from countries with confirmed Covid-19 cases. 

    Residents of Katheri Village in Meru County illustrated this fear after one of their own returned from the Kingdom of Bahrain and failed to self-isolate, sending the entire village into panic.

    Joseph Kimathi, one of the residents of the village, stated that the man had come back from Bahrain on Monday, March 16, but had been mingling freely with residents at various entertainment spots in the area.

    Watch the video here:

    "We heard the president's speech on self-quarantine but our fear is that someone arrived from Bahrain on Monday and arrived here on Tuesday," Kimathi noted.

    The concerns of the residents were further exacerbated by the fact the man had not been tested yet continued to hang out with his friends.

    "He was not tested so that we could verify whether he is infected or not yet. He is still moving around and can be seen with groups of people around the town," asserted Kimathi

    Kimathi's request to the government was that the man undergoes testing before he could return to the community.

    "We are not saying he is sick but the government should take him and test him. If he is well, then he can return.

    "But now before he is tested he is inciting fear not only in the community but in his family as well," he adds.

    The residents wanted the chief to intervention in the matter with Kimathi, acting as their collective voice, reiterating that their fears would be quelled only after the man underwent testing.

    "We ask that the chief exercises his mandate before the public takes it upon himself to handle these issues. Let the government take the appropriate steps, take the man and test him, if he's fine then he will return and life will continue," Kimathi concludes.

    The veiled threat by the resident came days after a man suspected to have contracted the deadly virus was lynched by a mob in Kibundani area of Kwale County.

    Concerns over the effectiveness of self-quarantine continue to rise given even public officers have been accused of failing to observe the directive. On Sunday, March 22, authorities in Kilifi had to force the Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi into isolation after he failed to do so after he jetted in from Germany. 

    On Tuesday, March 17, Members of Parliament also expressed their outrage over one of their own failed to self-quarantine.

    The members in question was Adan Keynan, the elected representative of Eldas who had allegedly arrived from London but failed to observe the recommended 14-day quarantine.

    Kenya's self-quarantine stance bears a stark contrast to Uganda's hard-line mandatory quarantine.

    As per measures detailed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday, March 18, all travellers would be subjected to mandatory quarantine at their own costs in government-designated hotels.

    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media at Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020
    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media at Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020
    Simon Kiragu

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has however stood his ground that self-quarantine remains the most viable measure for the country to take.

    "When you refuse to self-quarantine, you are exposing the rest of society to the potential of them getting the disease,” Kagwe stated on Friday, March 20.

    The CS assserted that self-quarantine was done on the basis of good faith and that everyday had a personal responsibility to adhere to it.