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Emergency response team strives to trace contacts of COVID-19 infected priest who tested positive

A member of Siaya county assembly has called on the county government to suspend operations in the wake of reports that a Priest who presided over a funeral service in the area had tested positive to Coronavirus.

The  Central  Alego MCA, Leonard Oriaro said both the Executive and Siaya county assembly need to take precautionary measures and send their staff to work from home to curb the spread of the virus.

The  MCA’s call comes as the Siaya County Commissioner (CC), Michael ole Tialal said a team of health officials were dispatched to Matibabu hospital in Ukwala to monitor a patient said to have exhibited signs of the virus.

Tialal  said the woman, who is undergoing treatment at the facility was in stable condition and called for calm amongst  Siaya residents.

Addressing the media  in Siaya, Oriaro said the assembly must urgently adjourn its business and all staff save for those in the department of health sent home for self-quarantine.

He called on area residents to take seriously recommendations from the government on how to deal with the pandemic that was ravaging the globe.

The MCA called on religious leaders to adhere to government directive ordering the closure of places of worship to prevent the virus from spreading.

“Some religious leaders have been heard, saying that their churches will not close down because of Coronavirus. It is high time they come back to their senses and realise that the pandemic does not discriminate,” he said.

A multi-agency team comprising health workers and national government administrative officers have since been dispatched to track the contacts of a Catholic priest who returned to the country recently from Italy and presided over a burial ceremony in Ambira, Ugunja Sub County.

The priest, who is said to have visited several places, among them Sega and Lwak in Ugenya and Rarieda sub counties was later confirmed to be Coronavirus positive, prompting the county emergency response team into action.

Tialal told KNA on Tuesday that the team was still combing the villages to trace family members of the priest and all those that he came into contact with.

The  CC said that all the nuns at Lwak convent have been advised to self-quarantine for 14 days to avoid spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, three people have been put on forced quarantine at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Kisumu after they failed to observe self-quarantine regulations for Kenyans jetting back into the country.

The  three who jetted into the country from Dubai on March 16 , 17 and 20 respectively travelled by public means from Nairobi to Migori and Kisii respectively to renew their passports.

Immigration officers who suspended passport services this week in the wake of corona virus scare upon looking at their travel documents wondered why they did not go into self-quarantine as directed.

The  Kisumu County Commissioner, Susan  Waweru on Monday directed that the trio be put on forced quarantine at JOOTRH for 14 days.

Waweru  said  Public Health Officers were following up the three cases and will give further directions.

The  CC  announced a crackdown on foreigners in the area who lacked valid travelling documents to enforce unnecessary travels.

She  said a multi-agency team involving the department of Immigration, Public health officials and other relevant arms of government were on high alert so that even those Kenyans travelling back into the country are quarantined for 14 days.

The  Kisumu Regional Immigration Officer, Tom  Anyim  said a good number of Kenyans expected to be on self-quarantine continue to flock the office seeking various services.

This, he said was posing a great danger to other Kenyans and members of staff at the office.

By  Philip  Onyango/Chris  Mahandara

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