Health Officials in Kitui are tracing at least 50 close contacts of Fr. Nicholas Maanzo, who tested positive for coronavirus Monday.

The Catholic Priest, who hails from Kitui Central, had been on a year-long study tour in the Italian capital of Rome. He returned to Kenya from Ireland via Italy on Monday, March 23.

However, on Tuesday night, the man of the cloth was spotted mingling freely, with concerned locals reporting to authorities. On Sunday, Maanzo was rushed to the isolation centre at Mbagathi Hospital after exhibiting coronavirus-like symptoms including breathing difficulties.

Kitui County Chief Health Officer Dr. Richard Muthoka observed that if the contacts are not quarantined, Kitui might become another hot spot for the coronavirus virus after Nairobi.

“We have requested for CCTV footage from the places he visited including the ATM at Absa bank and supermarkets for review and possible tracing,” he said.

Among those being traced are boda boda operators, staff at Magunas Supermarket in Kitui where the priest shopped and an unknown number of people who visited the local Absa Bank (formerly Barclays Bank) ATM where the priest withdrew cash on Tuesda.

Dr. Muthoka said the Priest’s two workers have since been quarantined and are helping trace other close contacts.

Fr. Maanzo’s relatives, neighbors and Catholic nuns at the Kwa-Ngindu Sisters of Good Shepherd are also being sought for testing having interacted with the priest.