Hundreds of people quarantined for observation for coronavirus are staring at huge bills following the directive extending their stay for another 14 days.
Among them is a family of five that is putting up at Pride Inn, a four-star hotel in Nairobi’s Westlands hub, whose bill has already hit Sh400,000.
Continued forced stay means the bill would double for the three rooms occupied by the family.
Extension of the quarantine period is linked to a supposed failure to observe the strict rules to avoid infection from the confirmed patients who have since been moved to hospital.
At the heart of the concerns is the failure by the observing medics in enforcing social distancing rules while unfairly punishing the diligent ones who followed the guidelines.
It also would raise major concerns whether the State should come in and subsidise the costs considering that these are unplanned expenses.
Shakir Yassin, whose family jetted into the country on March 23 after a visit to Ethiopia, is devastated by the soaring hotel bill. His family had to cut short the trip to make it home within the window allowed by the State for returning citizens.
“It is going to be quite costly for us. I am really hopeful that we would be allowed to go home today,” Yassin told The Standard on phone.
Daily cost for the three rooms is Sh28,000, an amount he said should have been more than sufficient to cater for police officers to ensure they self-quarantined in their home for the last two weeks.
He fears that the conditions at their hotel could actually be helping spread the virus, terming the facility as a “coronavirus incubation centre” rather than a hotel.
Yassin’s concerns are echoed by Bonface Ombui who is putting up at a nearby hotel that is also on the list approved by the State as an isolation facility.
Ombui retraces his anguish to the day when he landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after a business trip to Nigeria.
“We were all lumped into the National Youth Service bus, without social distancing and very poor ventilation,” he laments.
At his hotel, where two cases have since tested positive, the guests have been cleaning their rooms but still paying the full rate of Sh9,200.
“It is unfair that they would be charging us as if we are on holiday here while it is not our wish,” Ombui said.
Mutahi Kagwe, the Health Cabinet Secretary, has since directed that the guests in hotels would stay on for another two weeks, regardless of the results of a test scheduled for today.
Guests in Ombui’s hotel had earlier yesterday written an appeal to the CS complaining about the decision to extend the quarantine.
“What evidence do you have that we have not been complying by the MoH guidelines? From our understanding, the only way to disprove this statement is by testing all of us again,” they wrote to the CS.
Quarantine facilities where no one has tested positive are likely to have their subjects released within the week.