32 Break Out of Quarantine Facility

  • Police set up roadblocks isolating the Nairobi Metropolitan Area on April 7, 2020.
    Police set up roadblocks isolating the Nairobi Metropolitan Area on April 7, 2020.
    Daily Nation
  • 32 out of 66 passengers who were in forced quarantine at a facility in El Wak, Mandera County after travelling from Nairobi on Wednesday, April 8 have escaped, the County Government of Mandera revealed on Tuesday. April 14.

    Police have been accused of colluding with the passengers who were put in forced quarantine as they were accused of sneaking into Mandera after the partial lockdown restricting movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area was imposed.

    “I write to register our displeasure with the manner in which 32 people out of 66 passengers disappeared from quarantine facilities under the watch of police officers,” a letter from County Executive Ahmed Sheikh addressed to Mandera South Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Abdihakim Dubat read in part.

    A Makka bus driver had been arrested in Mandera on April 8 and accused of transporting 61 passengers from Nairobi in contravention of President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive on the lockdown.

    File image of a Makka bus pictured in Mandera town on March 20, 2020
    File image of a Makka bus pictured in Mandera town on March 20, 2020
    Daily Nation

    All the passengers were to be quarantined in El Wak for 14 days at their own expense.

    “We are holding a driver we suspect has been involved in the transportation of passengers from Nairobi despite the government’s directives. We shall charge him.

    “This bus company has continued to defy laid down directives. We shall seek the intervention of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) in dealing with it since it is putting many lives at risk," Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kytha had stated at the time.

    The bus was intercepted by officers in El Wak town, Mandera South constituency after it arrived at around 8 p.m.

    The arrest had come after Mandera Governor Ali Roba raised concern on the continued travel between Nairobi and Mandera, insisting it was crucial to protect Mandera residents.

    “Despite the ban on travel to and from Nairobi, we are reliably informed that unscrupulous transporters have positioned themselves in strategic places outside Nairobi and still embark on travel to Mandera,” he stated.

    The situation was made worse by the revelation that the same Makka bus had transported two individuals who later tested positive for the virus, leaving health officials scrambling to trace other passengers who might have come into contact with them.

    Compounding the situation further, many of the passengers had alighted at different points including Kutulo, Borehole 11, Wajir town, Elwak, Wargadud, Bambo, Rhamu and Hareri.

    Speaking to reporters on Friday, April 10, however, Kytha stated that a majority of the passengers who traveled on April 1 had been found.

    “We have managed to trace 90 per cent of the 33 passengers who arrived in Mandera on April 1. They are all in quarantine waiting testing," he stated.

    Mandera Governor Ali Roba (centre) and members of the county's medical team are pictured at the Mandera County Referral Hospital on April 1, 2020.
    Mandera Governor Ali Roba (centre) and members of the county's medical team are pictured at the Mandera County Referral Hospital on April 1, 2020.
    Daily Nation