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Ministry of Health Director General Dr Patrick Amoth has come out to clear the air over health claims made by a driver who ferried mourners from Nairobi to Homa Bay County.
According to a viral clip doing rounds online, Kelvin Aura, 26, claims he is healthy despite Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announcing recently that he had tested positive for coronavirus.
Mr Kelvin Aura, 26, who has been isolated at Malela Health Centre, has disputed the results and says he does not exhibit any symptoms of Covid-19.
“I am healthy. Since I was taken to isolation, I have not been prescribed any medication because I do not show any symptoms of being sick,” he said.
He said he had previously suffered from malaria but had been cured after he took some drugs.
He also claimed that Mr Kagwe had been misinformed by Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti regarding his health status and the circumstances under which the group of mourners he was transporting had travelled to the county.
However, in an interview on a local TV station Monday evening, Dr Amoth reiterated that Mr Aura had indeed tested positive but was an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.
“Kelvin is our test number 257…he was tested in Kemri Kisumu and his result came back positive. He’s one of those people who tested positive but are asymptomatic,” he said, while revealing that 56 percent of those who’ve tested positive in Kenya are asymptomatic like Mr Aura.
“We’re keeping Kelvin in the isolation centre until the fourteenth day when we’ll start repeating the tests to see if he turns negative. If released now he will be able to pass on the disease to others. We do not have to give him any treatment because he is asymptomatic. If you don’t have any symptoms we keep you there until the disease runs its incubation period,” he added.
County Health Executive Prof Richard Muga has also clarified that while Mr Aura does not exhibit any symptoms of Covid-19, he was carrying the virus.
“The fact that he does not show any symptoms does not mean that he cannot infect others. Not all positive patients will show any symptoms. Those who do not have personal protective gears are at risk of contracting the disease,” the health executive said.
Samples from the driver were taken on Thursday afternoon before he was told that he was infected on Friday morning at 3 am.
The other mourners have been quarantined at Homa Bay KMTC since Tuesday night.
FAKE VS REAL MOURNERS
Questions have also been raised on whether mourners from Nairobi travelled to Homa Bay County with an empty coffin and forged documents to get past roadblocks as reported by CS Kagwe.
The Nation however reports that there were two groups of mourners from Nairobi who travelled to Homa Bay County last week to attend two different funerals in Rachuonyo North.
The media house says first group made up of nine people, including Mr Aura, travelled on Tuesday evening to Seka Kamser to bury a woman identified as Joice Were Opar.
They had brought a coffin and burial clothes from Nairobi to bury their kin.
A second separate group comprised of 12 mourners had also travelled on Saturday to Alego Village in Kamser Nyakongo to bury Milton Obote.
Mourners from the first group said they arrived in Homa Bay on Tuesday evening and went to Gendia Mission Hospital in Kendu Bay where the body of their kin was being preserved.
State officials came out to accuse them of using forged documents indicating that they had a body from Mama Lucy Hospital.
A mourner from the group said on phone that they were surrounded by police officers on Friday midnight before being escorted to Miriu health centre along Homa Bay-Katito road.
“We were locked up in a room until the following day (Wednesday). Some nurses took our body temperatures which all turned to be normal. No one exceeded 37 degrees,” the mourner claimed.
Another mourner said they were later taken to Homa Bay KMTC on Wednesday afternoon where they were subjected to what they termed as suffering.
“We had no food to eat neither could we get out to go for calls of nature. We were all, including men, women and children, kept in the same room that was locked from outside,” she said.
They say they managed to get one of the children out through the window to open the door from outside so they could buy food from the local trading centre.
They were picked again at midday and taken to Homa Bay KMTC.
A mourner said samples were taken from them on Thursday afternoon before they were given their results on Friday morning at 3 am.
“One result turned out positive, it was of the driver who brought us from Nairobi. He was immediately taken to an ambulance then driven to Malela when he was isolated,” the mourner said.
On the same day, the second group of mourners were on their way from Nairobi to Homa Bay as confirmed by Mr Charles Juma, a brother to the driver who gave a TV interview on Saturday.
Mr Juma dismissed claims that his brother was sick.
Before starting their journey, they wrote a letter to police bosses in Nairobi requesting permission to travel out of the capital city to bury their kin in Homa Bay.
In the letter, they listed six people who will travel using two cars.
According to authorities in Homa Bay, the mourners were intercepted before they could get home for exceeding the number of mourners who were allowed to travel.
Rachuonyo North Deputy County Commissioner James Mabeya said they were arrested between Kendu Bay town and Pala trading centre.
He said they acted on a tip-off from local administrators and villagers.
Mr Mabeya accused the mourners of violating the travel permits they were issued in Nairobi.
“The permit required only six people to travel. They were supposed to travel in two vehicles in which each vehicle was to carry three people. But all of them travelled in a small vehicle,” he said.
They had used a Toyota Noah.
The twelve were then taken to Homa Bay KMTC for 14-days mandatory quarantine. Mr Mabeya said legal action will be taken against the twelve later.