International

Kenya’s mass testing met with public defiance

A coronavirus mass testing campaign by Kenya’s health ministry has recorded a low turnout after encountering unwillingness among members of the public.

The government had targeted to test thousands of people in two hotspots in the capital, Nairobi, but only hundreds turned up.

Most of those who spoke to local media said they fear exhibiting symptoms during the procedure, and being taken to quarantine centres where they will incur costs for their upkeep.

Health ministry official Rashid Aman on Sunday said the tests are free of charge.

He defended the quarantining of those who test positive yet displayed no symptoms, saying they needed to be isolated so as not to transmit the virus.

A section of Kenyan leaders have been calling for door-to-door mass testing.

Other leaders have said mass testing will only succeed if the government takes up the cost of upkeep for those under quarantine and improve conditions in the isolation centres.