Kenya: 'Prison Break' - Kenyans Under Quarantine at KMTC Escape

Tailors sew masks at Mukiria Technical Training Institute.

An unknown number of people in quarantine at the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) headquarters in Nairobi escaped on Tuesday in unclear circumstances.

In a scene that mimics a prison break, a video posted on social media depicted the escapees climbing over the wall and landing on Mbagathi Road. They then blended in with pedestrians and escaped towards Nairobi West.

The violators of government rules on isolation carried their suitcases and personal effects after throwing them over the concrete fence.

The facility is currently housing more than 200 people found through either contact tracing or arrested for flouting the curfew and social distancing rules.


It is believed that some of them made the escape on Monday night by taking advantage of the rains.

The rest escaped during breakfast when most of the law enforcement agencies were distracted with the morning activities. An anonymous message from someone believed to be quarantined at KMTC claimed that dozens had left the station, putting the health of Kenyans at risk.

"When we lined up for food, they could be heard saying that the Sh2,000 per day rate was too expensive," read the message.

The Nation could not independently verify these claims as the government could not give the exact number of those who escaped on Tuesday.

However, Health ministry officials said they were aware of the escape and were working with their Interior counterparts to track down the escapees.

"We will share more information in due time," Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said.


The KMTC isolation centres are typical dormitories. Pictures and short clips sent to the Nation show that there is a bed on which hangs a mosquito net. The toilets and bathrooms are shared.

Those at the centre said there was the anxiety of waiting daily to be told whether you are positive or not, and this has impacted on the people emotionally and psychologically.

The incident comes at a time when the government has come under scathing criticism for running the quarantine centres like prisons, extending days without as much as a word with those in the centre. Some centres have been singled out for not only having inhumane conditions but also exposing those quarantined to coronavirus.

Various groups have complained that the conditions at some centres are defeating all the intentions of the government in controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

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