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Coronavirus in Italy: the heavy price paid by clergy

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They preside over funerals, comfort the sick, and are often themselves elderly: in the coronavirus crisis in Italy, priests are paying a heavy price.

“A priest is always close to the people. For good or bad, it’s his raison d’etre,” said Monsignor Giulio Dellavite, secretary-general of the diocese of Bergamo, which is currently the hardest-hit area in Italy’s north.

Over 7,000 people have been infected by COVID-19 in the city and province of Bergamo, and priests have not been spared.

Of the 67 Italian priests who have died of the virus, more than 20 have come from Bergamo, including a bishop, according to the Catholic newspaper Avvenire.
However, the grim toll does not deter many.

Giuseppe Locatelli, the priest of the parish in Albino, also in the province of Bergamo, says he has no plans to renounce his ministry.

“Priests are on the second line. Doctors and nurses are on the front line with the risks they take every day. We take fewer risks,” Locatelli told AFP.

He recently blessed a man on his death bed, he said, “because it was a special circumstance,” with only the ailing man’s wife and handicapped son at home.

“They were alone,” Locatelli said.

Like doctors and nurses, priests need to protect themselves, Dellavite said.

“Our priests are dying because they’re not calculating” the risks, he said.

One of them was Giuseppe Berardelli, a priest from Casnigo, near Bergamo, who died in hospital this month at the age of 72.

“Not knowing that the virus was so dangerous, he continued to work, going into homes to perform funeral rites. And when he got infected, he didn’t stop right away,” said Gianbattista Guarini, a local merchant in Casnigo.

The youngest priest known to have died from the virus is Alessandro Brignone, from the diocese of Salerno, south of Naples. He was 45.

BY N


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Machakos Senator in ICU, woman found with him in apartment questioned

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Machakos Senator Boniface Mutinda Kabaka is admitted at the Nairobi Hospital after he allegedly fell ill while with a woman at an apartment in Nairobi’s Kilimani estate.

The lawmaker is reported to have checked in at the apartment along Elgeyo Marakwet Road in Kilimani on Thursday afternoon accompanied by a woman identified as Esther Muli, a resident of Wote town.

According to a police report on the incident, the matter was reported by the Senator’s wife who said that at around 3am she was informed by an employee at the Senator’s office that her husband had been admitted in the ICU.

“She went to the said Hospital accompanied by other family members among them her co-wife where she established that the Senator was brought by paramedics after falling sick while in an apartment along Elgeyo Marakwet Road within Kilimani,” reads the police report.

Police visited the scene and found the woman who disclosed that she was with the Senator in the apartment when he suddenly started complaining of severe headache and asked her to look for paracetamols.

She added that the pain worsened and she reportedly informed the management who called for an ambulance and rushed the lawmaker to Nairobi Hospital.

By Friday evening Senator Kabaka was still admitted in the ICU at Nairobi hospital. The woman was escorted to Kilimani Police Station for interrogations by the DCI.

By Standard Digital


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Coronavirus-burdened US warns its citizens against travel to Kenya

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The US government has issued a travel advisory to Kenya, citing an increased risk of contracting Covid-19, this despite the country being among those leading globally with the virus infections.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in an updated health notice on Wednesday warned American citizens against travelling to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

CDC placed the four nations under Level 4 Alert, meaning there is a very high level of Covid-19 and all non-essential travel should be avoided.

“Travelers should avoid all travel to Kenya. Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” said CDC in a notice.

If one must travel to these countries, they must strictly adhere to the health protocols on Covid-19 including wearing masks and keeping six feet distance from other people, CDC added.

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” stated the US health institute on its website.

“During travel, wear a mask, stay at least six feet from people who are not traveling with you, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, and watch your health for signs of illness.”

CDC further urged American travellers to get tested for Covid-19 one to three days before travel and only leave the country after receiving the results.

Those returning to the US must also undergo testing one to three days earlier and adhere to all Covid-19 regulations.

According to the CDC, a Level 3 Travel Health Notice is the highest risk level and means citizens should strive to avoid all non-essential travel.

A CDC Level 2 Travel Health Notice advises American citizens to practice enhanced precautions while a Level 1 Travel Health Notice advises Americans to practice usual precautions.

The warnings come as US reported its highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day on Wednesday with 3,157 new fatalities and more than 273,799 people having died due to the virus and more than 13.9 million infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Thursday, Kenya registered the highest recoveries on a single day after 11,324 patients were discharged in 24 hours bringing the total number of recoveries to 67,788 since April 1.

Similarly, 1,253 patients tested positive after 10,170 samples were analyzed in the same period.

Kenya’s caseload rose to 86,383 on Thursday out of 911,596 samples analyzed since March.

The Covid-19 death toll also rose to 1,500 after 16 more patients succumbed to the disease.

by NN


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Kericho man who woke up in mortuary dies

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The man who was taken to the mortuary at Kapkatet Sub County Hospital in Kericho County after being presumed dead, has breathed his last.

Peter Cheruiyot died while being transferred to Kericho County Referral Hospital in an ambulance on Thursday afternoon for specialised treatment.

He was transferred to the mortuary hours after his family rushed him to hospital after collapsing at his home.

Cheplanget Ward Representative Hezborn Tonui confirmed that the man had passed on.

“It is true. He has breathed his last while being transferred to Kericho for further treatment. I am at the homestead condoling with the family,” Mr Tonui told the Nation on telephone.

In an interview with the Nation on Thursday last week, Cheruiyot said it was a miracle he was still alive. He was confident that he would recover and join his family. But that did not come to pass.

 “I am happy to be alive…it is a miracle that I am breathing, talking and I can move my limbs and eat. This is the work of God,” the 32 year old Cheruiyot told the Nation in an interview on Thursday last week.

Cooling chamber

In what generated a lot of reaction in the South Rift region and beyond, the father of four cried out when a mortician attempted to cut an incision on his leg so as to insert preservatives on the body before it could be put in the cooling chamber.

“I felt an excruciating pain on the leg and screamed my lungs out. It is like I was being burned with a hot iron bar,” said Cheruiyot.

As we conducted the interview, relatives, villagers and curious members of the public jammed the male ward at the hospital to have a glimpse of the man who “rose from the dead”.

“I do not know what happened prior to my being dumped in the mortuary. The next thing I knew after screaming, which I was initially not sure if anyone heard me, is that I was being wheeled to the ward,” said the former matatu tout.

After screaming and catching the attention of the mortician, the patient passed out again and was rushed to the emergency ward where doctors resuscitated him before admission.

When he fainted at Keroncho village in Cheplanget on Tuesday last week, the patient was rushed to hospital by relatives.

At the hospital, he was allegedly left unattended by doctors and nurses at the casualty ward.

“How they (medics) arrived at the conclusion that I had died, leading to my transfer to the mortuary is a matter of conjecture,” said Cheruiyot adding that the fresh wound on the right upper part of the leg which was cut in the morgue was very painful.

Interestingly, despite looking frail and at times struggling to speak, he had a razor sharp memory as he could recognise relatives and friends by name.

Family members said that the man had been battling a terminal illness and had been in and out of various hospitals in the region.

Low immunity

Due to his low immunity, he has been admitted to some of the facilities for days for treatment according to medical records seen by the Nation.

“When he fainted at home, we used a Toyota Probox to rush him to hospital where doctors said he had passed on. We were shocked to be told later by the mortuary attendants that he was still alive,” Mr Kevin Kipkirui, the patient’s younger brother, told journalists at the hospital.

Dr Gilbert Cheruiyot, the Medical Superintendent at Kapkatet Sub County Hospital said last week that the patient was taken to the mortuary by his relatives.

“In a breach of protocol, the family members rushed the patient to the mortuary after presuming that he had died,” said Dr Cheruiyot

He said that the matter was under investigations and the gaps that had been detected would be addressed after a report on investigation is tabled.

Members of the Kericho County Assembly on Tuesday absolved medical officers at the hospital of blame after an ad hoc committee on health formed to investigate the matter tabled its report in the House.

The committee was chaired by Hezron Ngetich (Chilchila ward), with Ms Ann Tum (nominated) as the vice chairperson while other members are- Paul Chirchir, Gilbert Ngetich, Wangare Njuguna, Emily Kerich, Erick Bii, Humprhey Kirui, Eric Bett and Philip Rono.

by nation.africa


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