Life in Forced Quarantine: Popular Milele FM Presenter Opens Up

  • File image of Milele FM Presenter Francis Luchivya (Right) with his co-host Jacqueline 'Wilbroda' Nyaminde at Milele FM Studios
    File image of Milele FM Presenter Francis Luchivya (Right) with his co-host Jacqueline 'Wilbroda' Nyaminde at Milele FM Studios
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  • Popular Milele Drive presenter Francis Luchivya is among Kenyans and foreigners in forced quarantine at the Pride Inn Azure Hotel in Nairobi as part of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

    Luchivya, who hosts the show alongside Jacqueline 'Wilbroda' Nyaminde spoke to Kenyans.co.ke on Sunday, April 5, on his experience in mandatory quarantine after it emerged that the Ministry of Health had ordered an extension of their stay for 14 more days.

    The government had previously announced a 14-day mandatory quarantine for Kenyans arriving from abroad at specific hotels and government facilities at their own cost as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

    Francis Luchivya (Right) pictured at Milele FM studios with Milele Drive co-host Jacqueline 'Wilbroda' Nyaminde in March 2020
    Francis Luchivya (Right) pictured at Milele FM studios with Milele Drive co-host Jacqueline 'Wilbroda' Nyaminde in March 2020
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    "It has been brought to my attention that some of those quarantined in the same facility have tested positive for Covid-19. This changes their status from quarantined from travel to contacts of positive Covid-19 patients," Director-General of Health Patrick Amoth then stated on Saturday, April 4, as he ordered for the extension, with Health CS Mutahi Kagwe claiming that some of those in mandatory quarantine had failed to observe physical distancing requirements.

    Luchivya, who entered the 14th day of his quarantine on Sunday, March 5, revealed the confusion and lack of communication that has marred the government's response to the situation.

    He further questioned how the government expected them to stay in quarantine for two more weeks, at their own cost, despite the state failing to adhere to timelines on testing of the patients.

    "First of all, we haven't received any official communication on that extension so we don't know what that is about.

    "Second, they were supposed to test us twice, after five days and fourteen days. Instead, we were tested for the first time after eight days. No one got their results individually, we just saw ambulances coming to pick up the two white people who tested positive.

    "It's the fourteenth day today, we're supposed to be tested again so we can leave but there's no communication. None at all, the only communication we have is the hotline we were given to report symptoms if they develop," he revealed.

    A letter from those in quarantine at the hotel had revealed that they were informed via a group Whatsapp forum that they had tested negative, even as they demanded individual result slips.

    "Here, there is no interaction, the only place I can go is the swimming pool to get some sun or fresh air. There, the chairs have been spaced out. The hotel workers and support staff are also being quarantined here, they wear gloves, overalls and other protective gear.

    "If you want breakfast, you call and say what you want. We don't leave our rooms. Remember, we are being held here at our own cost, that's around Ksh9,000 a night. Now, I haven't been working for the past fourteen days. If the government insists on extending this stay, then it has to be at their expense.

    "Today is the 14th day. We want to be tested for the second time and be allowed to leave if we are negative and taken to Mbagathi if we are positive, but there is literally no communication. The communication has been very poor," he asserted.

    On Saturday, April 4, Health CS Kagwe had addressed the need for the extension as he claimed that some of those in quarantine had been going on partying sprees, contrary to the prescribed measures.

    “As I said, there are those who went on partying sprees in quarantine facilities. This is against every protocol that we have issued.

    "But in a bid to further contain any further transmission arising from those in mandatory quarantine we have instructed our medical teams to extend quarantine period of those in facilities which we believe have got individuals who need another 14 days, given the fact that the contacts they have within the quarantine facilities have tested positive,” he had stated.

    Luchivya, however, noted that they remained unaware if this was applicable to them as no such partying had been going on at the hotel, even as he admitted that he had heard of such reports from government facilities such as the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) where others are being held.

    "We've heard that at government facilities like KMTC they are sleeping in cubes, some are partying but we don't know how this applies to us.

    "That is why I'm saying this directive makes no sense. The communication has been very poor and we still don't know if this extension will affect us.

    "First of all, it's day 14 today. They need to do the second test today or tomorrow (Monday, April 6) and let us leave if we are negative, because, surely, how can we stay for 14 more days at our own cost? " he posed.

    Luchivya maintained that if the government was to extend their stay, it would have to be at their expense as they had complied with all directives for the originally prescribed 14-day period.

    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (Left) and his Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi during a press briefing in March 2020.
    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (Left) and his Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi during a press briefing in March 2020.
    File