• Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in Thursday said government hospitals will conduct the tests at the said range of cost.
• Commercial rates for Covid-19 testing are about Sh10,000 to Sh13,000, amounts hoteliers had indicated they were uncomfortable to incur.
The government has reduced for hoteliers the cost of testing their staff to between Sh2,000 and Sh4,000.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in Thursday said government hospitals will conduct the tests at the said range of cost.
Commercial rates for Covid-19 testing are about Sh10,000 to Sh13,000, amounts hoteliers had indicated they were uncomfortable to incur.
The CS defended the decision to reopen restaurants, saying much as there would be a possibility of infections spreading, controls can be put in place to save jobs.
"It is an economic measure which has advantages. This is an attempt to keep the economy working even as we respond to the pandemic," Kagwe said.
He made the comments before MPs at the National Assembly Committee on Delegated Legislation.
Also present was Interior CS Fred Matiang'i who dismissed reports of forcible quarantine of persons arrested by police while effecting curfew and containment orders.
The Interior CS said that in the security sector, they put people under necessary confinement having been found in places they are not supposed to be.
He said the state holds people caught in bars, house parties, and for violating curfew rules out of fear they are escalating the virus’ spread.
Matiang’i told MPs that he has received no such report from either the police or the county administrators.
He said neither the IG of Police Hillary Mutyambai nor IPOA chairman has given his office any report on forced quarantine.
“I have spoken with county administrators who have no such reports. We need concrete details,” the CS said.
The CS added that 14 police officers are facing disciplinary action for use of violence in enforcement of the curfew.
Matiang’i said security agencies who administer corporal punishment on Kenyans while effecting the orders will be punished.
“IPOA and Internal Affairs Unit have seized of the matter. We don’t condone corporal punishment. We don’t tolerate inhumane treatment of members of the public,” he said.
“Officers know that there are certain things they cannot do against wananchi. It is not true to say we have allowed any violation, when it comes out we will punish,” Matiang’i said.
He added that the enforcement of the containment orders does not limit the rights of citizens in the wake of the World Health Organisation declaring the Covid-19 pandemic.
MPs Martha Wangari (Gilgil), Wilberforce Oundo (Funyula), Jennifer Shamalla (Nominated), Muriuki Njagagua (Mbeere North), Alice Wahome (Kandara), and Daniel Maanzo (Makueni) were present.
The Heath CS restated that the containment orders don’t violate the constitution adding that the ministry followed the law in invoking the Public Health Act.
Kagwe said Kenyans can still enjoy their rights within the prescribed limits of social distancing and personal protection – face masks.
“The measures are not unique to Kenya. They are mild compared with other democratic institutions. We are guided by WHO guidelines.”
Kagwe said the Covid-19 containment rules serve a legitimate and lawful purpose of controlling the spread of the virus.
“There are officers who have been exempted to perform their functions within areas where the rules apply,” the CS said, pointing to essential services providers.
He said the Restriction of movement and Prevention, Control and Suppression rules have taken into account the views of stakeholders including the judiciary, COG, and DPP.
He said containment orders in Mombasa, Kilifi, and Nairobi were issued without further notice to members of the public owing to the prevailing circumstances.
“Minister has powers to declare an area infected and instigate measures to control further spread, hence the effect of the rules.”
The government will not meet costs of quarantine apart from special cases – as assessed by social workers, Kagwe said, adding that those who keep up in hotels will have to pay their bills.
“For those who can’t pay, we take responsibility. The other day, we released 12 people at Kenyatta University,” the CS said.
MPs sought answers on why the state wants quarantined persons to meet the costs; extension of stay in the facilities; and why the rules were rolled out without public participation.
Maintaining that forced quarantine is happening, Wahome said: "Show us which law you are using in choosing who to pay for and who not to."
MPs also reported cases of governors issuing parallel curfew and restriction of movement orders citing a case in Murang'a county.
Wahome claimed that health workers who live in Thika have been unable to cross over to Murang'a following the purported orders.