Sad tale of people under mandatory quarantine in Uasin Gishu County
By Fred Kibor | April 24th 2020
For Sam Koech (not his real name), the turn of events on March 20 will remain etched in his mind forever.
He is among more than 200 people who were placed under 14-day quarantine at Kaplelach High School in Uasin Gishu County after they allegedly flouted government guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Koech, an accountant with a local milk outlet in Eldoret, narrated yesterday how together with his wife they woke up looking forward to a good day, but which ended on a bad note.
“We had decided with my wife, who is not employed, to find a place where we can set up a business to supplement our family income. We boarded a matatu to Kimumu shopping centre to look for a shop to rent for my wife to start a business,” he recalls.
On the way back to Eldoret town at around noon, members of Nyumba Kumi and police officers manning a roadblock at Hawaii shopping centre flagged down the matatu they had boarded.
“We were not worried since we had our masks, but we were asked to step out of the vehicle and questioned why our masks were not in place,” he says on phone.
Their pleas fell on deaf ears as they were ordered to board a police van and their phones confiscated before they were driven to Moiben Police Station. Police told them they would undergo test for Covid-19.
Health is compromised
“After being held in the cells for more than three hours, other people were brought in and we were asked to board a police van and driven to Kaplelach High School. We were asked to inform our families to bring us clothes and bedding as we would be quarantined for 14 days for not wearing our masks properly,” he narrates, adding that they were given back their phones.
Koech claims that 70 people were put in one dormitory whose sanitation was in poor state.
Koech's wife, who is expectant, has been forced to give up the comfort of their home. For breakfast, they are served white porridge while for lunch and dinner, they eat ugali with green grams.
The facility is now home to those found holding house parties, defying curfew, illicit brewers, among other law breakers.
“On the first day four of us shared a bed and we had no masks. We feel our health is compromised at this facility more than ever and nobody seems bothered. Now that we are being held together with my wife, we fear for the safety of our children,” he says.
Another victim, June Jemutai (not her real name), is yet to come to terms with her circumstances.
“I had stepped outside my house at Rock Centre estate to buy painkillers for my three-year-old baby and on my way back from the chemist, I was arrested for not wearing a mask and taken to Kaptich Police Station,” she recalls.
Hopes of being granted police bond were shattered after she was told to board a police vehicle headed to the quarantine facility.
“We are calling for justice, especially now that nobody has taken our samples for testing,” she says.
But in a statement, Uasin Gishu Covid-19 emergency response team explains that the group flouted Covid-19 precautionary measures.
“They were detained because they ignored government directives. Anybody found drinking alcohol and gambling in dens or moving around during curfew hours is considered a coronavirus risk case. This is why you shall be put under 14-day quarantine while you are being taken through the court process,” says Uasin Gishu Health executive Evelyne Rotich.
Area County Commissioner Abdirasak Jaldessa visited the quarantine centre and urged the group to observe social distance and sanitation rules.
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