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Kenyans to be tested for Covid-19 and quarantined for free

Effective today, May 6, 2020 the government of Kenya will bear the cost of targeted testing and quarantine facilities.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe encouraged Kenyans to go and get tested in large numbers since they will no longer bear the costs of testing.

COST OF QUARANTINE

He said the cost of targeted testing for Covid-19 and government quarantine facilities shall be met by the government.

“Kenyans should therefore forthwith not be afraid… let me repeat that, effective today government quarantine facilities will be occupied by those told to do so by the Ministry of Health and will be quarantined at the facilities free of charge. This is to facilitate those who may feel that they do not want to go for testing because of the cost of quarantine. That is no longer the case,” said Kagwe.

The announcement comes after a majority of Kenyans avoided the free government Covid-19 testing that was rolled out on Friday in major hot spots in the country.

The low turnout forced the government to appeal to its citizens to willingly come forward to be tested to help flatten infections and minimize the risk of transmission.

The government had since the first case was reported in March insisted that anyone who tests positive of Covid-19 will be quarantined at their own cost.

SELF-QUARANTINE

The enforcement of the forced quarantine come after the government announced that self-quarantine, which relied on the goodwill of individuals, did not guarantee compliance.

It is well established that the government may confine people against their will if those individuals present a danger to themselves or others, even if the person being confined has not committed a crime.

According to the Public Health Act, an individual who is forcefully quarantined does necessarily have a right to be released from that quarantine but has a right to demand some sort of adjudicative process to determine whether the quarantine is justified.

The Act states that a person can be placed on the place of isolation and detained there until, in the opinion of the medical officer of health, he is free from infection or able to be discharged without danger to the public health.

Should they fail to do so the charge could result in a maximum fine of Sh30,000, imprisonment of not more than three years or both.