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Man who escaped from quarantine in Tanzania isolated

Sunday May 3 2020

A signpost outside Taveta Sub-county Hospital

A signpost outside Taveta Sub-county Hospital where a middle-aged man has been isolated after he escaped from a quarantine facility in Tanzania. PHOTO | LUCY MKANYIKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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A middle-aged man has been isolated at Taveta Sub-county Hospital in Taita Taveta County after sneaking into the country from Tanzania.

The man who is said to have escaped from a quarantine facility in the neighbouring country was being sought by authorities in both Tanzania and Kenya.

County health officials in Taita Taveta said the patient was involved in an accident and presented himself for treatment, unaware that authorities had launched a search to track him down.


Sources at the hospital said the patient did not disclose that he had recently travelled to Tanzania until a medic raised alarm after seeing his details on social media.


"Medical workers at the hospital attended to him normally. Later they were told that the man escaped from Tanzania while he was under quarantine. That is when he was isolated," the source told the Nation.

The medics who came into contact with the patient have since been quarantined.

County executive for Health John Mwangeka confirmed the incident, saying his samples were taken to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in Kilifi County for testing.

"We are waiting for the results to know whether he's positive or not," he said.

He added that all staff at the facility have been adequately trained to handle patients whether they are Covid-19 positive or not.

"We have started contact tracing as we await his results," he said.


Cases of people using illegal routes at the Taveta-Holili crossing to and from Tanzania have continued to be reported as residents fear that coronavirus might spread into the border county.

Tanzania has reported a high number of confirmed Covid-19 cases at 480, currently the highest in the region.

Residents now fear that the swelling numbers might spill into Taveta border town.

A Kitobo resident, Charles Mwangangi, said boda boda operators were still operating normally in the area to sneak sugar out to Tanzania.

"They are using the porous border to do illegal business. I see them every day. Some of them carry passengers," he said.

Mr Mwangangi claimed that the operators were working despite the full knowledge of local administrators.


County commissioner Rhonda Onyancha last week warned illegal sugar racketeers that they will be apprehended and charged.

She said the government will also place them in mandatory quarantine at their own cost and their motorbikes confiscated.

"We have beefed up security along the border and anyone who will be caught defying government orders will face the full force of the law," she warned.