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Kenyan athlete forced into self-isolation in Nakuru

Wednesday March 25 2020

Medics test protective gear at Mbagathi

Medics test protective gear at Mbagathi Hospital during the launch of an isolation and treatment centre for the new coronavirus disease -2019, dubbed Covid-19, in Nairobi on March 6. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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An Eldoret-based Kenyan athlete has been put in isolation at the Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) in Nakuru, after he was seized by security officers while aboard an Eldoret-bound matatu following a trip from abroad.

Samson Rutto, 31, was intercepted by police at Kibunjia area along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway on Tuesday evening and taken to the institution, where he spent the night. He arrived in the country on Sunday.

According to documents seen by Nation Sport, the athlete travelled to Kenya from France through India and Ethiopia, before arriving in the country on March 22.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Rutto complained that he had been forced into a very dirty and poorly ventilated room by the Nakuru County health officials and police.

"I was forced to spend my night in a filthy room, that is poorly ventilated. I wonder why I am being treated like a dog in my homeland. I wish l stayed in France, this could not have happened to me," he said.

He revealed that he had travelled to participate in a race in France, but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.


From France, he went to Bengaluru (also called Bangalore) in India's southern Karnataka state, where he was to participate in 21 kilometres times and 10 kilometres races.

Nakuru Health Chief Officer Samuel King'ori confirmed that they had put the athlete in isolation, on fears that he may have been in contact with someone infected by the deadly virus, because he travelled to countries that have reported many Covid-19 cases.

"It is true we intercepted the man who was travelling to Eldoret. He will remain isolated and will pay for the expenses at the facility," said King'ori.

The athlete has protested, saying he doesn't have money to pay for the expenses.

Rutto told Nation Sport he had been screened four times while in France, India, Ethiopia and at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

"At JKIA, I was screened and told to go home where I will self-quarantine for 14 days. So, I was on my way to Eldoret," he said.