The government was on Thursday, December 3 ordered to refund money collected from Kenyans forced into quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his ruling, High Court Judge James Makau ruled that it was illegal to force Kenyans onto quarantine without court orders.
Justice Makau ordered the that the state should refund in full the money collected from persons who were quarantined and were forced to pay.
“The decision to quarantine members of the public without an order of the magistrate and forcing them to pay is contrary to the Public Health Act and therefore unconstitutional,” Justice Makau ruled.
Even though it is not clear how much the government was charging, some reports indicate that Kenyans were paying Ksh28,000 for the 14 days quarantine in government facilities.
The case was filed in court by Activist Okiya Omtatah in April. He wanted the court to compel the state to pay all Kenyans who were forced into quarantine without a court order.
Omtatah had argued that the government’s decision to force Kenyans travelling into the country from overseas to quarantine and force them to pay was illegal hence the stated should refund in full the money collected from such persons.
Shortly after Kenya announced its first Covid-19 case, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all incoming travelers and those who may have been in contact with them.
Kagwe stated that such people could choose between paying to quarantine in a hotel or a free stay at a government quarantine facility.
However, despite Kagwe’s announcement that those quarantined in government facilities would not pay, reports emerged that people were forced to pay huge bills upon completion of the quarantine days.