A Catholic Priest in Kitui, who recently returned from Italy, the epicentre of Coronavirus (COVID-19), has been condemned by residents after defying self-quarantine orders issued by government.
The man of the cloth identified as Nicholas Maanzo was on Tuesday, March 24 spotted at a supermarket in Kitui town before visiting an ATM machine in the same area.
The priest returned to Kenya from Italy through Ireland on Monday, March 23 after a study tour in Italy and was spotted roaming in the streets forcing the residents to alert the police.
Italy has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world with the tally standing at over 7000. At least 74,000 people have been infected with the virus in the country.
Kitui Central Sub-county DCI boss Nzioka Singi said the priest had been advised at the airport to self isolate himself for 14 days but was on Tuesday night spotted at the Barclays Bank ATM and Magunas supermarket, raising anxiety among the locals familiar with him.
Upon receiving the complaint, the police boss alerted Kitui County health officers who accompanied him to to the priest’s home at Kihara village.
The officers interrogated Maanzo before the medical officers took his temperatures.
The priest claimed he left his house to buy food.
“We visited him to establish why he flouted the self-quarantine rules. He has explained that he did not have any food and therefore ventured out to look for food,” said Singi.
Singi said the priest did not show any signs of illness, adding that he admitted his mistake and apologised for the risk he had posed to area residents.
The officers reprimanded the priest and directed him to self-quarantine or risk arrest and prosecution for defying a government directive.
“You are just lucky that you do not show any signs of illness. Health officers have confirmed that your temperature is okay and you do not seem to be ill. But you must know that you committed a serious mistake by leaving your home to go to town,” Singi told the priest.
The developments come just days after the Church was put on the spot over recklessness in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
This is after it emerged that a Rome-based priest who recently presided over a funeral service in Siaya tested positive for COVID-19.
The priest, Father Richard Onyango Oduor, jetted in from Rome, Italy, and failed to self-quarantine as advised by the government.
At least 50 people, who came into close contact with the priest have been isolated.
Last week Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said individuals who arrive into the country and fail to self-isolate will be put under forced quarantine for 14 days before being arrested and prosecuted.