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How man who died from Covid-19 complications was hurriedly buried

A man who succumbed to Covid-19 complications was buried in a quick pre-dawn ceremony early Sunday morning at a village in Ukwala location, Siaya County.

According to reliable reports obtained by the Nation from multiple police, national government and county sources, the 59-year-old man — a Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) employee based in Mombasa — died on Friday at about 8 pm after being brought to a local hospital at 1 pm the same day.

The patient, according to sources, had been treated at the private facility identified as Matibabu Hospital in Ukwala.

According to a police report seen by the Nation, he had travelled from Mombasa on April 5 in the company of his wife and two children.

He slept in Nairobi and proceeded for the journey to Siaya on April 6 — the day President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that there would be a ban on travel in and out of Nairobi starting 7 pm.

It is not yet clear how he managed to beat the containment order that started that evening or what time he began his journey back home.

While headed upcountry, the KPA employee is said to have been involved in a minor road accident at Awasi market on the Kericho-Kisumu highway that day, and his car towed to Awasi police station.

The man and his family were then picked up by his brother, and he is said to have slept at his kin’s home at Konalejo estate, Kisumu County.

On April 7, he set off from Kisumu and arrived in Ukwala using his brother’s car. He remained indoors, according to the police report.

When he started coughing days later, he was sent to Matibabu Hospital on April 10 where he passed away. On Saturday April 11, his blood samples were taken to Kemri labs in Kisumu for Covid-19 tests.

TIGHT-LIPPED

According to the police report, the results came back positive. However, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga and County Commissioner Michael Ole Tialal remained tight-lipped on the results of the test when reached for comment on Sunday.

“At this level no confirmation yet on whether the deceased died of Covid-19 or other ailments. Await for Nairobi to confirm. Let us not circulate rumours and create fear amongst the people,” Mr Ole Tialal said, even as multiple police and county sources confirmed the death.

Sources from the man’s family indicate that the burial in the early hours of Sunday morning was done in less than 1 hour in the presence of security and County Health officials.

Over 30 people, including neighbours and his immediate family members, have been rounded up and ferried to Siaya KMTC campus grounds for quarantine as samples were also obtained from them for testing, the sources say.

Nine medical staff at Matibabu hospital where the deceased succumbed are also said to be in quarantine.

The Ministry of Health confirmed in a statement issued Sunday afternoon that a patient died from coronavirus complications Siaya County, bringing the total tally of Covid-19 deaths in Kenya to 8.