Panic In Siaya As Catholic Priest Tests Positive For Coronavirus

siaya

A Catholic priest who attended a relative’s funeral in Siaya County over the weekend has tested positive for coronavirus.

Father Richard Oduor, who jetted into the country from Rome Italy via USA on 13th March 2020, had traveled to his ancestral home Nyasanda area in Ugunja before attending the burial that was held in the neighboring Ambira area.

He is said to have led 11 other local priests in presiding over the requiem mass in the funeral.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe confirmed during a press briefing on Sunday that the country had recorded eight new cases, among them that of a priest who had traveled from Italy.

It’s alleged, he came from Rome, spent some days in US before departing to Kenya.

In what appears to be nothing less than utter breach of a government directive ordering those arriving in the country from abroad to be thoroughly screened and possibly isolated, when Father Oduor arrived at the JKIA, the health officers simply asked him his place of origin and when he proved he had traveled from US, they allowed him in without being subjected to thorough check ups.

Father Oduor spent the night at his brother’s place in Utawala, Embakasi where he mingled and dined with the whole family.

The following day, early in the morning, he boarded an Easy Coach bus to Siaya to preside over the requiem mass and the holy communion in line with the Catholic tradition. He later mingled with priests in a local parish after the funeral service.

Father Oduor then returned to his brother’s abode in Utawala on Friday but all hell broke loose at around 5.PM on Saturday, when he began experiencing serious chest pains as well as an abnormal fever. He was rushed to a health facility in Utawala and thereafter referred to Kenyatta National Hospital where he tested positive for covid-19.

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Siaya county commissioner Michael Ole Tialal while confirming the incident, said health officers had been deployed to the area to contain the situation.

Siaya county commissioner Michael Ole Tialal while confirming the incident, said health officers had been deployed to the area to contain the situation.

The incident has thrown the nation into further confusion as to the rationale for relocating upcountry to seek refuge from the virus comes into question. 

Reports had indicated a mass exodus of a scared public from urban areas driven by the perception that there was a minimal threat in rural areas. 

The possibility of a total lockdown looms in the corner as Health CS revealed a higher rate of infection during a press briefing on Sunday, the number of confirmed cases rising to 15 up from the first seven initial cases. 

On Monday morning, authorities moved to ameliorate risks of further infections by urging members of the public running businesses in town centers to return to their homes and consider working from there. 

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