15 detained in Mombasa after failing to pay quarantine bills

Journalists outside the KMTC Mombasa campus where more than 15 people were detained in April after being unable to pay the COVID-19 Quarantine bill PHOTO COURTESY

Confusion rocked the Kenya Medical Training College in Mombasa on Thursday after at least 15 people who were due for release after completing their COVID-19 quarantine, were slapped with bills and asked to clear before they could be allowed out.

The affected had been forced into the facility for 14 days after either traveling from a country with COVID-19 prevalence or being in contact with persons that had tested positive for the virus.

One of the victims told Baraka FM that they were to be released on Wednesday but were held and told to await their bills.

“They slapped us with bills amounting to Kshs.28,000/= each, with a pay-bill number, and declared that we had to settle them before we could be released. We were shocked,” one victim, identified only as Amanda, told Baraka FM on telephone.

Amanda said she was forced into quarantine alongside a few of her work-mates after one of their colleagues at work was said to have tested positive for the deadly virus.

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“We don’t know what to do since we don’t have that kind of money. Furthermore, this is something we were forced into and we tested negative, so why charge us?” posed Amanda.

The government had previously made it clear that those in quarantine would personally bear the costs, but according to Amanda, that will be a heavy burden on many.

“We have been in quarantine with people who can’t even afford food, so how will they pay 28,000 shillings?”

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This comes as Mombasa continues to report a constant rise in new COVID-19 infections, a worrying situation that triggered President Uhuru Kenyatta to order a review of the lockdown terms for Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties.

Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kwagwe said on Wednesday that the review might see the three counties put under more stringent measures in efforts to curb the further spread.