Kenyan police have arrested more than 1,100 people in Nairobi over the past one week for flouting a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Wilson Njenga, Nairobi regional commissioner, said the suspects were taken to courts, fined and forced to self-isolate.
More will be detained at the quarantine centers if they flout the rules, he warned.
“People don’t seem to take this thing seriously. We are here for them,” Njenga told journalists in Nairobi.
He said more than 200 people were arrested on Monday in Nairobi after they broke the public health regulations against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the weekend, more than 300 others were rounded up and taken to quarantine centers after being arrested from roadblocks, clubs, homes, weddings, and other joints.
They were placed in forced quarantine at their own cost.
On Tuesday evening, more than 50 people reportedly escaped from a quarantine center in Nairobi. County police commander Phillip Ndolo said authorities are waiting for the medical personnel attending to the escapees to provide a list to start searching for those who fled.
“The medical team is still in the quarantine area and we expect them to give us details on those missing then we start the other process,” said Ndolo.
He said according to video clips that are circulated on social media, those seen escaping had bags showing they were in quarantine.
“From the look of things, they are not those who were arrested from bars and roadblocks. This is dangerous behavior,” Ndolo said.
There are fears that they could pose a risk to other Kenyans following the government’s directive that anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 be isolated for 14 days.
The authorities said the suspects will remain at the quarantine under observation for health officials to monitor if any symptoms develop.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a live radio interview early Wednesday, said those who escaped from the quarantine facility will be arrested and returned there.
Kenyatta warned that those found breaking the new laws on social distancing will be put in mandatory quarantine for 14 days, and if they continue to disregard the stringent measures, they will have their quarantine duration extended.
“We will get those people that are escaping from quarantine centers to finish clear their days. They cannot hide,” Kenyatta said.
“Those that are arrested for flouting night curfew regulations must pay for their accommodation. You cannot be a burden to the law-abiding citizens. Everyone must carry his own cross,” he said during a live address on national Swahili radio stations.
Kenya Medical and Practitioners and Dentists Board CEO Daniel Yumbya said there are 54 quarantine centers across the country after six more were opened up over the weekend. So far, 2,195 have been released from mandatory quarantine.
TOUGHER CURFEW MEASURES
On Sunday, Mercy Mwangangi, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health, said Kenyans found outside of their houses during the curfew will now be assumed to have contacted suspected cases of coronavirus and placed under quarantine.
“All those who break the curfew rules will be assumed to have been in contact with suspected cases and hence will be quarantined for 14 days,” she said. Enditem