Officer who collapsed, died in Meru bank had no Covid-19, police say


What you need to know:

  • The officer’s death caused panic at the bank.
  • The bank was briefly cordoned off by the county Covid-19 surveillance team who picked the body.
  • The traditional 21-gun salute was not done in line with Covid-19 health protocols.

A 47-year-old police officer who collapsed and died while guarding a bank in Meru two weeks ago did not succumb to Covid-19.

This was revealed Monday during the officer’s burial.

Meru County Police Commander Patrick Lumumba said tests conducted on the body of Corporal Harrison Nkunja revealed he had not contracted the disease when he collapsed inside Equity Bank’s toilets.

He said samples had been sent to Nairobi to establish the real cause of death and results are expected later.

“Tests ruled out Covid-19 and further samples were sent to Nairobi and we expect them soon,” said Mr Lumumba.

No gun salute

He also explained that the police service did not accord the dead officer the traditional 21-gun salute as it was one of the health protocols being observed in the fight against the coronavirus.

“The moment people know that it will be conducted, they will flock the burial site which we want to discourage. It is one way to prevent Covid-19 since it was meant to add colour to the burial. We are no longer carrying out the exercise since we want the burial to be silent and ensure only a minimal number of people attend,” said Mr Lumumba.

During the burial, the family said they were relieved that their kin had not died of the coronavirus.

Mr Nkunja’s elder brother, Mr Josphat Murungi, said preliminary observations by their doctor indicated that the police officer died of a heart attack.

No prior illness

Mr Murungi added that they were not aware of his illness until his demise on July 21, 2020 while he was on duty guarding the bank in Makutano, Meru.

After the funeral service conducted by a Catholic priest, only family members and colleagues of the departed officer were allowed at the graveside.

Mourners eulogised Mr Nkunja as a humble and philanthropic policeman who liked helping the less fortunate in the society.

The officer’s death caused panic at the bank, with the financial institution being briefly cordoned off by the county Covid-19 surveillance team who picked the body.