The Ministry of Health’s attempts to trace all contacts of persons who have tested positive for coronavirus may be coming a little too late as it is taking up to four weeks for the State to trace some people.
Many of the listed contacts go about their daily activities oblivious of the danger they pose and unaware that they are on the ministry’s contact tracing list.
One of the contacts had been going about his business until the State showed up on his doorstep.
On Thursday night, as he was getting ready to sleep at about 11pm, the sound of sirens disturbed the silent night in the city estate he lives in. Little did he know that he was the one being sought by a team of police officers, and National Youth Service (NYS) cadets.
He was informed that he had come into contact on March 6 with a person who had turned positive for Covid-19, and he needed to immediately go into mandatory quarantine, in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
He was not given a chance to explain whether he had exhibited any symptoms in that period or if he had been tested for the virus in any other facility, apart from the government facility.
“This was like a kidnapping as he was forcefully put into a bus with other traced contacts and driven to a quarantine destination,” says one of his friends.
The bus ended up in a primary school in Nairobi where they were given bed-sheets to shield themselves from the biting cold as they awaited further instructions the next morning.
“What we are wondering is, isn’t four weeks a little too late to pick up someone?” he posed. “And when they present in such an aggressive manner, how do they expect people to respond?”
The contacts say this is akin to criminalising contracting coronavirus instead of treating it like they would any other disease in order to make it easier for people to turn up when called upon.
With this, it is unclear what timelines the Ministry of Health is using for contact tracing, especially if contacts are still yet to be found way after the 14-day incubation period of the virus.
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