All the 31quarantined people locked up at Mash Park Hotel in the city were late Tuesday released after testing COVID-19 negative.
They were all given COVID 19 Quarantine Discharge Summary sheets from the Ministry of Health indicating they had completed the full term of quarantine as directed by the government and signed by Dr. E. Onyago.
Onyango is the doctor in charge of the Mash Park Hotel zone, whose approval for the discharge of the 31 people was being waited for by the ministry of health.
After all the 31 persons were released, six of them were unable to leave the facility owing to the government locked out Nairobi from other adjoining counties. Two of those released are resident in Kajiado.
“We are here because we do not know how we will travel to Kajiado. We are in touch with our governor to see if we can be allowed as a special case,” said Ken Matampash.
Earlier a Ministry of Health doctor had claimed the 31 under quarantine over COVID-19 at Marsh Park Hotel, Nairobi could not be released until the results of the last test have been released.
Dr. Asper Mwala called for patience among those in the quarantine saying because of an increased load of testing, it may take a little longer to get the results. She is the doctor on call on the COVID 19 hotline provided by the ministry.
Mwala had also said that even if the results of the 31 people under quarantine turn negative, a report from the medical officer in charge of the zone that Marsh Park Hotel lies will be heavily depended upon.
“If the medical officer will report anything sinister about the conduct of those in the quarantine, say for example they did not follow the quarantine rules during the 14 days, they will be placed in quarantine for another 14 days,” said Mwala.
She said those in the quarantine will receive a communication from the Ministry of Health later on Tuesday.
“We have communicated the matter to the ministry and those concerned will know their fate today. If they have been conducting themselves in the right manner, obviously they will be allowed to leave once their results turn negative,” she said.
The doctor said any decision to release them or further detain them in the quarantine is not a punishment because in most cases the disease gets take at least 14 days to manifest itself, or at most 35 days.
On Monday a section of people quarantined at the hotel had demanded to know their fate after they had completed the 14 days.
All of them had arrived from countries with reported COVID-19 cases and later were forced self-quarantined in the hotel.
Two of them; Matampash, who flew in from France and Captain Leng’ete Pertet, who arrived from the United States on March 24 through Qatar had claimed they had been tested on Sunday and the results had not been released to them.
“I have just completed my 14 days mandatory quarantine today at Mash Park Hotel on Ngong Road. I came on March 24 after a one day-stay in France,” said Matampash, a resident of Kajiado.
He went on; “I do hope they will release us today (Monday) to go home and have another 14 days of self-quarantine because of the intimidating cost of staying in this hotel.”
Matampash said he and others are worried by the fact that the Ministry of Health officials are not in constant communication with them.
“We all depend on the minister’s daily briefs for all the communications. As of now, none in our group has been taken to isolation centres because they all tested negative. The cost of staying here is prohibitive,” Matampash said.
He said he boarded a Qatar Airways flight from France on March 23 and touched down in Doha before proceeding to Nairobi.
On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, at 8 am on March 24 where they were shown a room to complete some documentation.
“We were kept standing for close to 8 hours without chairs, food or water. Every one of us at the airport, including those from the government, looked exhausted and very tired. Nobody was even keeping the required social distancing,” said Matampash.
Others who talked to the Star on the telephone from the hotel, and did not wish to be named, claimed brokers from the various city hotels were at the airport waiting to take them in on arrival.
“This is big business, brokers collude with government officials at the airport to mint money from those forced into self-quarantine. There should be a government guideline on this,” said another man in the quarantine.
Cost of quarantine
The hotel, a Three Star outlet in the city is charging Sh7,500 for a full board, which most of those in quarantine claimed is “fair”.
On March 3, the government said it had observed that those within the various facilities have not maintained optimal social distance, prescribed hygiene measures and have instead had close contacts and interactions.
It said those factors facilitate transmissions and cross infection and therefore it is impossible to determine whether those who were quarantined in the facility are safe to be released into the general population.