NAIROBI, Kenya

The Kenyan High Court ruled Thursday that the country should immediately refund thousands of people forced into mandatory coronavirus quarantine centers because the move was illegal.

Anyone who tested positive for the virus while entering Kenya or those inside the country was forced into quarantine centers across the nation and forced to pay for their stay until they recovered.

“The decision to quarantine members of the public without an order of the magistrate and forcing them to pay is contrary to the Public Health Act and therefore unconstitutional,” said Judge James Makau in the ruling.

The Court said the state, according to the Public Health Act, was supposed to foot the bills of those with positive results.

A petition on behalf of those in the centers was filed with the Court by popular Kenyan human rights activist Okiya Omtatah.

Human Rights Watch and other groups raised red flags about the centers, citing that Kenya is forcefully quarantining tens of thousands of people at facilities that lack proper sanitation, protective equipment, and food.

Kenya recorded 1,253 new cases Thursday of the virus with 16 deaths on Dec. 2, raising fatalities in the East African nation to 1500, To date, it has recorded 86,383 infections.​​​​​​​

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