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Exposed: The Meru pastor courting coronavirus

Thursday March 19 2020
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Reverend Nathan Kirimi (right) of Jesus Winner Ministry in Meru during a press conference on March 18, 2020. PHOTO | DAVID MUCHUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID MUCHUI

A Meru-based clergyman, whose church has a large following, is out to mislead his flock and the public on coronavirus outbreak.

On Wednesday, Reverend Nathan Kirimi of Jesus Winner Ministry said he believes coronavirus, which has so far claimed over 8,000 lives across the globe, is a hoax.

And, in total disregard of a government directive that social gatherings should be banned, Mr Kirimi said he will not close his church despite the outbreak “because God has not instructed him to do so”.

To slow down the Covid-19 spread, experts are calling for ''social distancing'' — a public health practice that aims to prevent sick people from coming into close contact with healthy people.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has also warned that any congregation anywhere — be it at churches, funerals or weddings — will not be encouraged.

Last week, Mr Kagwe invoked the Public Health Act (PHA) which gives him broad legal authority to impose various forms of restrictions during public health crises.

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Minimising transmission of infectious diseases is often a core function of public health law.

The claims by Mr Kirimi come as South Korea’s thousands of Covid-19 cases were linked to a religious sect known as Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

A new wave of infections in South Korea was also linked to Grace River Church, which had defied calls to suspend services.

Media reports indicate that the church finally closed its doors on Sunday after 46 worshippers, including the pastor and his wife, tested positive for coronavirus.

South Korea has recorded more than 8,400 cases with half of them linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

Several churches and mosques have heeded the government directive against social gatherings.

All Saints' Cathedral and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa have suspended services as a precaution against the coronavirus.

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