The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has recanted a statement it had issued earlier calling for a state of emergency over coronavirus, saying it was issued in error.
In another statement yesterday, KHRC said that a state of emergency would be easily be misused and abused by those in power.
“KHRC’s statement calling for a state of emergency regarding the coronavirus situation in Kenya was issued in error and before there was full processing and is hereby recalled. In a country like Kenya where executive over-reach is common, and accountability resisted by those in power, a state of emergency would be easily be misused and abused,” the commission said.
Instead, the commission is now calling upon the government to mobilise relief food for families that are unable to fend for themselves after staying away from their workstations for fear of the virus.
“Many families live from hand to mouth and cannot go into self-quarantine or stay home for long periods as the government advises. It is important for the government to quickly mobilise relief food and other humanitarian assistance to such families,” added KHRC.
KRHC is also calling for constant disinfection and deep cleaning of the outdoors of areas where there is dense population.
“Because public places in high-density neighbourhoods remain an important breeding ground for the virus, the government needs to organise mass constant disinfection and deep cleaning of the outdoors in those neighbourhoods,” added the statement.
Yesterday, Kenya confirmed the fourth case of coronavirus in the country, with authorities indicating that self quarantine was now mandatory for all suspected to have the virus and not an option.
“When the public health act has been invoked, quarantine is not a voluntary measure, it is a mandated measure that can lead to a fine and a jail sentence. This measure at the airport is going to be instituted by making those entering into the country swear a legal document that they will comply with what they are supposed to do,” said Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.
According to KHRC, elements of a prevention strategy have already been spelt out by the government and include the urge for people to stay home, and to exercise social distancing.
“Even before coronavirus, Kenya’s fragile healthcare system is struggling and would surely be put under much more strain if it had to deal with a sudden upsurge of new cases of infection. Prevention remains Kenya’s only reasonable response to the threat of coronavirus,” added (KHRC)