Double blow for grieving kin in Siaya man’s hurried burial - VIDEO

Siaya reports first Covid-19 death

What you need to know:

  • A KPA employee who succumbed to coronavirus complications buried in quick pre-dawn ceremony on Sunday morning.
  • 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.

As Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ Sunday, James Oyugi Onyango, a 59-year-old man who succumbed to Covid-19 in Kamalunga village in Siaya County, was hurriedly buried by hazmat suit-clad health officials in the wee hours of the morning on Easter Sunday.

This was in line with a directive issued by the Ministry of Health to bury Covid-19 victims within 24 hours from the time of death.

A statement to newsrooms from Health Cabinet Secretary Mutai Kagwe indicated Onyango was the eighth person to die from the virus.

By the time the statement was being released, the ministry had tested another 766 samples of which six turned positive, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 197.

“One more patient was discharged from hospital, bringing to 25 the total number of persons who have recovered from the disease and discharged,” Mr Kagwe said.

Not so Onyango, whose exit from the world was devoid of the usual celebrations that mark Luo burials. It took less than an hour and was attended by only a handful of people.

James Oyugi Onyango, who succumbed to Covid-19 and was hurriedly buried in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Kamalung village in Siaya County. PHOTO | COURTESY

The short burial period was put in place to curb infections and is adapted from a 12-step guideline of disinfecting bodies issued by the World Health Organization, which was developed during the Ebola outbreak in DR Congo.


Thirty of Onyango’s family members were rounded up and sent to the Kenya Medical Training College Siaya campus for quarantine as samples were taken for testing at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) laboratories.

The 30 are part of the 2,160 contacts, who have been traced. Onyango is proof that the disease is spreading in communities and the reason why the Health ministry has opposed people travelling from the towns to rural areas.

A police report showed Onyango worked for Kenya Ports Authority in Mombasa. He travelled to Siaya on April 5 by road together with one of his two wives and two children.

The family said he slept in Nairobi before driving to Kisumu.

He was involved in a minor road accident in Awasi on the Kericho-Kisumu road.

How he managed to leave the city on April 6 — the same day President Kenyatta declared a ban on travels into and out of four counties, including Nairobi — is still a mystery.

Onyango's brother, who lives in Corner Legio estate in Kisumu, reportedly picked up the family at Awasi. They spent the night in Kisumu and travelled to Ukwala on April 7 and remained indoors according to the police report.

On April 10 at 10am, Onyango started coughing and was rushed to Matibabu Foundation Hospital where he was attended to by nine medical staff.

He died at 7pm on the same day. The results came back after his death from the Centre for Global Health Research Kemri labs in Kisumu. He had tested positive.

Ugenya Sub-county Deputy Commissioner Pamela Otieno told the Nation that security officials were working with the medics to trace all contacts.

Services at Matibabu have been suspended briefly for fumigation.


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