Starting Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the cost of quarantine shall now be met by the government.

“From today, government quarantine facilities will be occupied by those told to do so by the Ministry of Health and will be given that facility free of charge,” the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

The move has been put in place to encourage Kenyans especially those in low-income areas to test for Corona Virus.

“This is to facilitate those who may feel that they do not want to go for testing because of the cost of quarantine,” the Health CS affirmed.

Long overdue

Though Kenyans have welcomed the move, most have asserted that it should have come sooner. This is because some have already paid the high cost of staying in those quarantine facilities.

“Where was the government all along? It has always been the duty of the government to take care of quarantine costs utilizing the national resources and taxes,” @AfricaRepublic tweeted.

Others expressed the fear of getting sub-standard services at the quarantine centres now that the cost will be on the government.

“Expect quarantine centres living conditions to dwindle due to fewer resources and they will have similar conditions to prison centres. At the end of Covid-19 government will announce that it spent Sh140billion on quarantine costs,” @Khalidiin, another tweep posted.

Those who have been in government quarantine facilities have complained about the deplorable living conditions there.

“The toilets are just messy, dirty… even the cleaners who clean the toilets once a day complain about how messy the toilets are. It’s because there is no water, so people are touching the same taps when you want to wash your hands if there is even water… it’s just a mess,” one woman in quarantine told the BBC.

Others have asked the government to also foot the cost of treatment for Covid-19 patients.

“The government should shoulder the burden of treatment for Covid-19 positive patients. It should be free from quarantine to treatment,” @ayodo_change tweeted.

By the end of March, the government had more than 50 quarantine facilities at hotels, hostels at schools and universities. These facilities cost between $20 (Ksh2,122) and $100 (Ksh10,610) a night.