Govt Sets Steep Penalties for Spreading Covid-19

  • Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai during a passing out parade for 1,224 officers in December 2019
    Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai during a passing out parade for 1,224 officers in December 2019
    File
  • The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Monday, March 23, issued a statement laying out the mode of punishment that will be meted out to individuals found guilty of infecting others with Covid-19.

    Citing the Public Health Act Cap 242, the DCI announced that any individual deemed guilty of passing on infectious diseases to others knowingly would be ordered to pay a fine of Ksh30,000, serve a 3-year prison sentence, or both.

    Vendors were also put on alert, with the government pointing that any individual who sells any item be it beddings or any other item that goes on to infect others is also liable, adding that it was the onus of each individual to ensure all their wares were disinfected and pathogen-free.

    A medical practitioner dressed in protective gear at Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    A medical practitioner dressed in protective gear at the Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke

    "Any person who - while suffering from any infectious disease, willfully exposes himself without proper precautions against spreading the said disease in any street, public place, shop, inn or public conveyance, or enters any public conveyance without previously notifying the owner, conductor or driver thereof that he is so suffering, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both...

    "...and a person who, while suffering from any such disease, enters any public conveyance without previously notifying the owner or driver that he is so suffering shall, in addition, be ordered by the court to pay such owner and driver the amount of any loss and expenses they may incur in carrying into effect the provisions of this Act with respect to disinfection of the conveyance," reads an excerpt of Chapter 242 of the Public Health Act.

    The announcement comes in the wake of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe's statement on March 22, where he stated that Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, would face prosecution refusing to self-isolate after arriving in the country from Germany via Amsterdam on March 6, only to later on test positive for Covid-19.

    Saburi had reportedly met a group of MCAs on March 7, at Royal Hotel in Mazeras to discuss preparations for International Women's Day celebrations that were to be held in Rabai.

    He was also reportedly sighted at a night club in Bamburi, Mombasa on March 19, as well as a restaurant known as Cafesserie-Mombasa on March 20, alongside his driver.

    The extent of Swaburi's recklessness was embodied in a video shared by a county official who was in contact with him, sent from quarantine detailing the mental anguish of being put at risk by your own boss. 

    "Thank you Kagwe for saying that you'll take him to court. He doesn't care about the lives of the people he has infected with this virus," asserted the officer in the video that went viral.

    CS Kagwe, in his March 22, presser, announced that there were 8 new cases of individuals who had tested positive for Covid-19 bringing the total number of infected individuals to 15, he urged Kenyans to stay at home and follow the safety directives issued by his ministry to avoid not only the virus but steep penalties for contravening any rules.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta while addressing the nation on Monday, March 23, vowed that severe action would be taken against Kenyans who violate rules spelled out by the Health ministry to arrest the spread of Covid-19.

    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addressing the media outside Harambee House on March 22, 2020.
    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addressing the media outside Harambee House on March 22, 2020.
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