Explained: How to Self-Quarantine in Kenya

  • Medics conduct public health emergency drill at JKIA on October 19, 2016
    Medics conduct public health emergency drill at JKIA on October 19, 2016
  • With the phrase self-quarantine becoming more familiar by the day, the Ministry of Health on Monday, March 23, offered a much-needed break down on how self-quarantine should work in a press briefing.

    The guidelines were offered by Patrick Omwanda Amoth, the acting Director-General of Health at the Ministry of Health.

    What is Self Quarantine?

    He clarified the meaning of self-quarantine laying to rest questions on how prescribed self-isolation was meant to work. He began by highlighting that a well-ventilated room was one of the key requirements of self-quarantine.

    "Self-quarantine means that you are in a room of your own well ventilated, with open windows," explained Amoth.

    Watch the explanation below:

    What rules apply to bathroom facilities?

    It was also deemed necessary that those who were in self-isolation have their own bathroom. 

    "The best-case scenario is that you have separate hygiene or toilet facilities," Amoth stated.

    However, if this is not accessible, a person in quarantine could use shared bathroom facilities provided the facilities were subsequently disinfected.

    "After every use of the toilet facility you will need to decontaminate it which you can easily do," Amoth provided.

    How do you disinfect shared facilities?

    Disinfecting the facility is easily done by using bleach and water. This is mixed in the ratio of one cup of bleach to six parts of water which can then be used to clean the facility.

    "You can easily do this with jik: one cup jik and 6 cups of water. You can use this to clean the bathroom," the health director-general explained.

    What happens to those with medical conditions?

    Those with medical conditions who were to observe the self-quarantine would need to have 14-days' worth of their prescribed medication.

    "During the self-quarantine, if you have a pre-existing medical condition you need to have your medicine with you for the next 14 days," he stated.

    Can you go to work if you are on self-quarantine?

    The ministry further advised those who would need to work to plan for the inconvenience prior, as they could not leave for their offices during the set-out period.

    "If you are working, it means you don't go to work for the next 14 days and you keep to your room," Amoth stated.

    Can I share utensils with other members of the household I'm in?

    Lastly, the ministry addressed the question of cleanliness and hygiene asserting that those on self-quarantine needed to disinfect their clothing and living spaces while advising them not to share personal effects.

    "You are not meant to share any of your toiletries or utensils, you should use your own," Amoth concluded.

    The guidelines come in the wake of a number of highlighted cases of prolific individuals foregoing self-quarantine and placing the public at risk,

    A photo of Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi giving an address in Ganda Ward, Kilifi.
    Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi giving an address in Ganda Ward, Kilifi.

    One such case is that of Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi who upon his return from Germany failed to self-quarantine. The county leader spent the intended quarantine period mingling with residents, county staff and at public events. Saburi, who tested positive for the virus, was eventually placed on self-quarantine and is set to face prosecution once the isolation period is over. 

    Three Kakamega county officials had also failed to observe the mandatory self-quarantine, forcing the Kakamega county government to place them under mandatory quarantine on Monday, March 23.

    The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has subsequently set steep penalties for those found guilty of spreading the virus through reckless actions such as flouting self-quarantine.

    The Public Health Act Cap 242 provides that anyone found guilty of knowingly infecting others, is liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh30,000 or a 3-year prison term or both.