CORONAVIRUS

Legal powers needed to take over schools, hotels

In Summary

• All travellers returning to Kenya must be quarantined for two weeks

• Government will need larger quarantine centres if the number of coronavirus cases escalates

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe addressing the media on Wednesday.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe addressing the media on Wednesday.
Image: COURTESY

Two universities refused to accommodate British Airways travellers returning to Kenya on Monday. 

Government has taken the decision that anyone entering Kenya must be quarantined for two weeks. Whether the decision is right or wrong, we are in an emergency. Therefore we must respect that decision which was prompted by the refusal of some people to self-quarantine on their return to Kenya.

We are effectively in a state of emergency. Government needs the power to requisition schools or hotels to serve as quarantine centres. What happened to the BA passengers was unacceptable.

International air flights will stop after Wednesday so there will be no need to isolate returning passengers after that. But there may soon be too many suspected cases of coronavirus to keep them all in hospital.

Then government will have a choice. Either it can let mild coronavirus cases stay at home and self-isolate, or it will need to requisition schools and hotels across the country to house sick people. The Attorney General should consider declaring a state of emergency to provide the powers to take over schools and hotels.

Quote of the day: "Human blunders usually do more to shape history than human wickedness."

A. J. P. Taylor
The English historian was born on March 25, 1906