Nairobi, 24 March, 2020 / 8:30 am (ACI Africa).
A Kenyan Catholic priest has tested positive for COVID-19 days after returning to his country from Italy, the country most hit by the deadly virus, a confirmation that has raised concerns that the cleric might have infected multiple people in the East African country since he defied the government’s 14-day self-quarantine directive.
Fr. Richard Oduor was taken to hospital Friday, March 20 “after some fever and vomiting” and the report of his having tested positive for the new coronavirus make public on Sunday, March 22, two priests who hosted him have stated in a collective message.
He had landed back at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) March 12 from Rome and having “passed through all the tests for COVID-19 at JKIA” proceeded to join Fr. Bosco Kamau and Fr. Anthony-Mario Egbunonu, both members of Saint Patrick’s Society (SPS) ministering at the Holy Family Catholic Parish, Utawala of the Archdiocese of Nairobi, the duo have disclosed in their Monday, March 23 statement seen by ACI Africa.
Defying the Kenya government’s directive for all travelers arriving in the country to observe a two-week self-isolation, Fr. Richard who is currently in isolation at Mbagathi Hospital, the Nairobi-based government facility for COVID-19 patients, had multiple direct contacts with different people.
“After spending the night in the Parish house, he traveled on Friday the 13th of March to attend a funeral at Ugunja in Siaya County,” the two priests who hosted Fr. Richard have recounted in their Monday, March 23 message, recalling the 430 kilometer-journey he made by public means the very day the government of Kenya announced the first case of COVID-19.