QUARANTINE CHARGES

Lobby group raises storm over forced Covid-19 testing

Muhuri says forcefully quarantining asymptomatic carriers is against their rights .

In Summary

• Muhuri has sued the Attorney General, Cabinet Secretary of Health and the Inspector General of Police seeking to have the government pay for quarantine costs for patients.

• Muhuri wants the government to pay quarantine costs for those in quarantine.

The contentious issue of asymptomatic carriers with Covid-19 disease being forced to provide a specimen for tests and later quarantined will play out in court in a case filed by a lobby group seeking to compel the government to pay quarantine charges.

Muslims for Human Rights is against the powers of the Health CS to mandatorily require asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 virus to provide specimens for investigation and examination without the carrier’s consent.

On Monday, the case heard in Justice Mugure Thande’s chambers at the High Court in Mombasa, was certified urgent and hearing set for April 29 this year.

 

 “This raises plausible legal questions of infringement of constitutional rights and freedoms including the right to property, right to freedom and security of the person, right to protection of human dignity and right to privacy,” said Muhuri chairperson, Khelef Khalifa, in his affidavit.

The lobby group is seeking a declaration that those who are being forcefully quarantined without sufficient reasonable cause or prior testing justifying their quarantine and isolation is against their rights and should be released.

Muhuri lawyer, Lumatete Muchai says it is public knowledge that those staying at the government designated isolation centres are staying under very poor conditions.

“The restrooms are flooded with water, the food being provided is kept overnight and rotten, and there is no proper planning on the separation of the infected and non-infected,” he said.

Muhuri has sued the Attorney General, Cabinet Secretary of Health and the Inspector General of Police seeking to have the government pay for quarantine costs for patients.

The Government, Muhuri said, is responsible for ensuring that the purpose and reason for designating a quarantine facility during such circumstances as prevailing are carried out while upholding the human dignity of the person concerned.

“The circumstances of this matter are not peculiar to Mombasa county alone, but all over the republic of Kenya, similar cases have been told of people being forced into quarantine facilities as punishment for undisclosed offences,” Khelef said.

 

Muhuri fears that persons quarantined at such facilities are at great risk of contracting Covid-19 virus due to lack of proper sanitation and lack of implementation of the safety guidelines.

“This will negate the very purpose and reason of isolation and quarantine,” Lumatete said.

The lobby group argues that the lack of sufficient measures to separate those who are infected and not infected may lead to an increase in the spread of the virus.

 “The responsibility to respect, protect, promote and fulfil has attained the customary international law status which no derogation can be permitted,” said Lumatete.

The acts and omissions of the officers complained of are unreasonable, unfair, and irrational and in breach of Kenyans legitimate expectations to their safety and security, Muhuri says.


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