The long disregarded rumours have come true after the Archdiocese of Mbarara confirmed that the recent death of their priest, Fr. Irenaeus Karenzi was related to the novel corona virus disease.
Fr. Karenzi passed on over the weekend at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital when a then unknown disease killed him. Rumours in the public domain alleged that the priest had died of COVID-19 but the diocese had since denied the claims saying they were still waiting for a postmortem report about the cause of the death.
Yesterday, this publication ran a story on the closure of St.Kagwa parish in Bushenyi district where the deceased has been serving, and the church administration said the church was closed down as a mean of ensuring health safety.
As you read this, it has now been clarified that Fr. Karenzi died of corona virus and the diocese has set up strict measures to accord him a decent sendoff scheduled for today November 30, at Nyamitanga cathedral.
Rev.Fr. Fidelis Betungura, the Deputy Director Radio Maria Uganda – Mbarara sub station said on his Facebook profile account that the priest’s death was related to covid-19.
“As we give farewell to our beloved Rev.Fr. Irenaeus Karenzi, we wish to inform the general public that his death is related to COVID-19,” reads a Facebook post on Fr. Fidelis’ account.
According to a post, the diocese has set health and safety measures to follow both at the cathedral and at St. Kagwa parish.
The diocese said few people will attend the funeral and to be conducted in adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), they also temporarily closed down activities at St. Kagwa parish and the community for a period of two weeks.
The priests and residents at St. Kagwa parish will according to Fr. Fidelis be in self-isolation during the same period but the faithful have been advised to seek Sacramento services at neighbouring churches.
In addition to the above, activities at the Archibishop’s office, Administration offices at Nyamitanga cathedral have also been temporary suspended for a period of one week to first ascertain the situation.
However, Nyamitanga cathedral remains open for prayers and other liturgical services.
Fr. Fidelis Betungura appealed to the public to strictly adhere to the MoH set guidelines on COVID-19.
Fr. Karenzi becomes the first Catholic priest to die of COVID-19 in Uganda since the first death case was recorded.
Yesterday, Uganda registered 201 new covid-19 cases bringing the total number of cumulative confirmed cases to 20,145.
According to reports by Ministry of Health, a total of 8,989 cases have recovered from COVID-19 in Uganda while death fatalities stands at 201 cases.