MUHURI on April 23, 2020, sued to exempt those quarantining in government facilities from paying.
Instead, MUHURI wants national and county governments to foot the bill in the context of Covid-19 disease.
“Designated government health facilities… are forcing such persons to cater and pay for expenses related to medical, accommodation and general upkeep contrary to the Public Health Act, Cap. 242,” the petition says.
“The government must bear all costs and expenses related to the fight against Covid-19, as expressly stipulated by the provisions of section 27 of the Public Health Act.”
The government, the petition says, has resources and a calamity kitty to settle the cost of those in quarantine. Besides, the government recently received an additional Sh7.51 billion funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) to fight Covid-19.
Respondents in the suit are Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, the Attorney General, and Inspector General of police – whose officers are rounding up Kenyans and forcefully quarantining them.
MUHURI says the arrested are not necessarily sick, and they risk contracting coronavirus because of police conduct.
Each of the quarantined is supposed to pay at minimum, Sh2,000 daily, for at least 14 days. Many of them are unable to foot the bill due to an economic shutdown caused by Covid-19, the petition says.
The Kenyan government started forceful quarantine claiming it will stop the spread of coronavirus, which has killed 14 and infected 320 others, as of April 23, 2020.
But the approach is counterproductive. Government officials and police are threatening locals with forceful quarantine at filthy and hazardous facilities if they break curfew laws or fail to wear facemasks. Some of the arrested part with bribes, as high as Sh20,000, to avoid detention.
For those unable to pay the bribe, police lump them together at cave-like cubicles in quarantine facilities, whose sanitation and food standards are unhygienic.
Viral footages have shown people escaping from these facilities, which many have described as detention camps, and whose conditions allows the virus to spread. The Ministry of Health has said a good number of Covid-19 infections came from quarantine facilities.
Health CS Kagwe has extended quarantine days for some patients, further ballooning their bills. The government is deploying heavily armed police are muzzle dissent.
Read the full petition here: