Quarantined Kenyans at Kenyatta University protest 23-day detention as nine more test positive bringing total to 225

Kenyans in quarantine at Kenyatta University. [Photo by The Star]

A stand-off ensued at the Kenyatta University quarantine facility on Wednesday, April 15 as 25 Kenyans who have been quarantined for 23 days demanded to leave.

Most of them are from Qatar where they have been working but were sent home by their employers. They arrived in Kenya on March 23, 2020, and headed for a 14-day quarantine.

After the lapse of the mandatory 14 days self-isolation, they have remained in quarantine more than a week later which triggered their demand to be released.

They protested their “illegal detention” citing that they have tested negative for COVID-19. But even as they demand to be released, KU is pressuring them to pay for quarantine, something they say they can’t afford after their extended quarantine.

“How do you explain the insistence of MOH to continue keeping us here longer even after posting negative status twice? What do they want to achieve? Even if we were positive before we travelled, WHO guidelines require that any person that posts two subsequent negative tests, should be declared free of the virus,” one of those at the quarantine centre told the Star.

Their effort to walk out of the facility was thwarted by police officers armed with teargas canisters and batons ready to deal with them. Left with no choice, they retreated to their rooms with anguish written all their faces.

The government is yet to comment on the issue even as nine more cases were confirmed on Wednesday.

In his daily briefing, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the nine tested positive out of 800 samples tested in the last 24 hours.

This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Kenya to 225.

The new cases are from Nairobi (5) and Mombasa (4). None of the patients has a history of travel.

Additionally, none of the nine cases was from quarantined persons according to the CS. The patients are aged between 9 and 69 years.

Kagwe added that 12 more patients who have been receiving treatment for COVID-19 have been discharged bringing the number of healed patients to 53. However, one person died in the last 24 hours.

The total number of deaths in Kenya now stands at 10.