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Uganda Coronavirus Update | COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates in Uganda

The average traveller has always had a tough experience going through Entebbe International Airport, but COVID-19 prevention protocols could make your check-in and check-out even more difficult.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc worldwide and grounded thousands of flights, it was planned that passengers flying via Entebbe would arrive three hours early to undergo stringent security checks.

In March, President Yoweri Museveni directed Entebbe Airport closure and other entrances/exits into and out of the country to stop coronavirus spread. The order was originally 32 days in length but has since been extended indefinitely following several lockout extensions.

But, as re-opening gets closer, passengers who had got used to airport security officials rummaging their packages and bags, removing belts and shoes before being subjected to thorough body checks, look set for even tougher times. For a start, passengers will have to arrive at least four hours before their flight.

This would be compulsory not just to go through a long health test, wearing face masks at all times, maintaining social distance, washing hands and using sanitizers. Passengers with some of the novel coronavirus symptoms are prohibited from reaching the airport.

Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health said Aug.3 that the establishment of the strict measures was intended to enable airlines to return to the sky, keep travellers secure and prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

“You will be expected to have a valid COVID-19 certificate issued within 48 hours from where you are coming, and on arrival, we shall still take your COVID-19 samples,” Vianney Luggya, the publicist for the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) told The Independent recently, “You may have done the testing where you are coming from but it is mandatory that we still test you on arrival.”

Speaking to Luggya, he said that the airport authorities have borrowed and domesticated several standard operating procedures from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Airports Council International, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Africa Civil Aviation Commission and the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency.

“We have domesticated these guidelines into protocols that will apply when passenger operations resume,” Luggya told The Independent, “There is an emphasis on wearing masks by passengers and staff.”

They are to be used in Very Important Persons’ (VIPs) waiting for lounges and rooms. Glass covers are often designed to avoid passenger contact, although taps have been changed to non-touch faucets in the washrooms.

Located 47 km south of Uganda’s capital, Entebbe Airport is Uganda’s largest gateway and hosts more than 70 per cent of the country’s passenger arrivals and assists many companies in importing raw materials and exporting Ugandan goods and agricultural produce.

The updated protocols found that Entebbe Airport had many improvements already underway. Research is still underway on extending the cargo center but the old runway (1230) is able to accommodate the airlines.

Luggya has told The Independent that plans are also being made to install automatic non-touch doors in the passenger access areas. The pre-boarding lounges that have been tiny partitioned zones for a long time will be torn down to create more passenger rooms. “Certain changes are immediate while other interventions are medium-term,” said Luggya.

The government closed Entebbe Airport on March 22 effectively prohibiting passenger flights coming from outside the country from landing. This was one of the measures put in place to prevent the introduction of the coronavirus in the country. Only cargo and UN aircraft were allowed to fly in and out of Uganda.

Uganda Tourism Board has today kicked off the inspection of hotels to ensure compliance of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities in the wake of COVID-19.

The SOPs aim to provide health and safety protocols for all s hotel and accommodation facilities and create confidence amongst domestic and international visitors as Uganda readies herself for tourism revitalization in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hon. Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Godfrey Kiwanda mooted to the media that the inspection was a critical part of the recovery process for Uganda’s tourism sector. He said, “today, we kick off the inspection of the implementation of the SOPs. This exercise not only demonstrates the steps being taken by Uganda’s tourism sector in readiness and recovery but the commitment by both government and private sector to ensure the safety of both our citizens and tourists.”

According to a recent report released by the UN World Travel Organisation, health and safety will be a crucial determinant for travel by tourists across the world as the global industry recovers.
“In addition to maintaining the recommended health and safety measures of social distancing, sanitization, and wearing of masks, every hotel will going forward be required to have an isolation room, formulate an on-ground emergency task force and have a COVID-19 resource centre accessible to all,” Kiwanda said.

UTB Deputy CEO, Bradford Ochieng, who also addressed the media, highlighted that the Board in fulfilling of its mandate ensures quality assurance across all tourism facilities and ensuring implementation of the SOPs is a key strategy in the revitalization of the sector and ensuring safety and confidence of the visitors- a key decision making factor in travel, going forward.

“Ours is a promise that quality assurance in Uganda’s tourism facilities will be upheld across travel, accommodation, amenities, and experience,” Ochieng said. He noted that UTB was in the process of developing a tourism sector recovery plan that is hoped to rebirth the sector.

The Chairlady of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Ms. Susan Muhwezi, called on the association members and the hospitality sector to uphold the SOPs put in place by the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities. She said, “We understand that hotels have had to increase their operational costs to fit into what is now the new normal that led to the creation of the tourism Sector SOPs. We are hopeful that the government will support private sector investment in this process through the stimulus package. This will go a long way to support the recovery of our hospitality sector.

The inspection will traverse the whole country, starting with Kampala City and Entebbe town this week.
In his closing remarks, Honorable Kiwanda noted the critical role played in the hospitality sector since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Uganda. He said that hotels supported the institutional quarantining process and acted as the model centres for the hospitality SOPs which are vital in the quality and health assurance of our hospitability sector.

About Uganda Tourism Board
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is a statutory organization established in 1994 mandated to promote and market Uganda domestically, across the region and internationally. The Board’s mandate also involves ensuring quality assurance in tourist facilities through training, grading, and classification, promote tourism investment, support and act as a liaison for the private sector in tourism development. The broader goals of the Board are to increase the contribution of tourism earnings and GDP; improve Uganda’s competitiveness as an international tourism destination, and increase Uganda’s share of Africa’s and world tourism market.

Ugandans returning from abroad will no longer have to obtain a negative COVID-19 certificate before entering the country.

This new development comes after many of the returning Ugandans reported that they were unable to procure the tests. In some countries like United States, United Kingdom, and South Africa, the price of testing for COVID-19 costs as much as $200.

Richard Mugahi, the head of COVID-19 quarantine centres and also the assistant commissioner of health services at the ministry of health says that they decided to stop asking the returnees for the certificates after several Ugandans said they could not access them.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2,400 Ugandans have registered to return home. A group from South Africa returned last night from South Africa.

So far over 170 stranded Ugandans have returned from Turkey, Netherlands, Belgium, Sudan, Afghanistan, and South Africa.

Last month, Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health during the COVID-19 status national brief said that all Ugandans returning would have to undergo COVID-19 test to avoid spreading the disease.

Dr Mugahi says that since all returnees will not be able to avail a negative they will be testing all Ugandans who will arrive in the country.

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“It would be nice for them to have the tests but they do not. So we shall be testing them twice. On arrival into the country and also on day 14 when their first institutional quarantine should be ending,” Dr Mugahi said.

However, for some air carriers like Emirates, all passengers need to be tested before they embark on any flight. According to the ministry of internal affairs, the majority of the returnees are expected to use Ethiopia Airways.

As countries prepare to open their airports, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has tightened travel measures at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport to combat the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that has strained the world.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority’s manager Sooma says that the new airport procedures are in line with new guidelines issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Airports Council International, and the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of airports reopening.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority officials are working hand in hand with the Ministry of Health in Uganda, Internal Affairs, and Foreign Affairs to ensure Entebbe International Airport complies with the set guidelines.

President Yoweri Museveni suspended these passenger flights on 22nd March 2020 to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Uganda. He, however, allowed cargo and emergency flights to continue operations. Before the lockdown, Entebbe International Airport could handle between 90 to 120 flights daily. READ MORE…

On 25th March, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) suspended Uganda safari activities for tourists in the national parks especially Primate tracking which includes Gorilla trekking safaris & chimpanzee trekking safaris in their respective national parks. This was done to protect Uganda’s wildlife heritage, the Uganda Wildlife Authority staff and visitors (tourists) who visit Uganda’s protected areas and participate in the various tourism activities.

Following the reopening of its Head of Offices in Kampala to the public, the Uganda Wildlife Authority consulted various stakeholders and put in place standard operating procedures for the containment of the possible spread of Covid-19 in its protected areas and decided to reopen all the savannah parks for Uganda safaris especially to tourists interested in visiting them. This comes after the President of the Republic of Uganda announced measures of easing the lockdown; which has been in effect since March 2020. READ MORE…

“Ugandans should know that if the disease escalates it may call for resumption of the restrictions to contain the disease spread and reduce deaths among the population,” says President Museveni.

But, addressing the nation from State House Nakasero, Museveni warned that Uganda has entered a “dangerous phase”, illustrated by the emergence of new positive cases within the population, in the areas of Kyotera and Amuru.

Below is the President’s address in full:

Countrymen and countrywomen.

Greetings from the Government and the political leadership of the country. Congratulations on our battle against the corona-virus, against the floods, against the rising waters of the Lakes and the Rivers, against the land-slides, against the floating islands, and against the locusts. The locusts have been defeated by the UPDF and the floating islands were cleared by the Ministry of Works and Transport. The floods, unfortunately, caused the deaths of 16 people in the areas of Kasese, Bundibugyo, Isingiro, and Kween; but the Government was able to provide relief to the displaced people.

The rising waters of Lake Victoria could not damage our Electricity Power Dams because, unlike in 1964, the Government had built the new canal that takes water to the electricity station on the Jinja side, the Kiira Power station, which canal added itself to the western canal, on the Njeru side, that takes water to the old power station of Nalubaale. This enables us to, if necessary, open for 3000 cubic meters of water per second to flow out, unlike in 1964 when they could only open for a maximum of 1300 cubic meters of water per second.

This enabled us to go from releasing the 600 cubic meters per second to 2400 cubic meters per second, thereby saving the dams of electricity and also preventing flooding around the whole of the Lake Victoria basin. The Ugandans that had encroached on the beaches, should peacefully vacate so that they do not suffer losses in the future and do not damage the environment as they have been doing by causing the Lake to silt, etc. The floating islands were quickly removed by a combined engineering Task Force, led by the Ministry of Works, using the magnificent Earth Moving Equipment we bought from Japan. On all this capacity for resilience, I congratulate the Government and the Ugandan people for coping effectively with these challenges.

However, for today, the main attention is on the coronavirus. When this global catastrophe descended from China, through Europe and the Gulf countries, to East Africa, after quickly conferring in-depth with our scientists, we promptly realized that, for now, this enemy could only be handled in two ways, as I have told you before.

The two ways are: avoiding the virus by tonsemberera, otampika, Luo-bed-mabor-ki-lawoti, Ateso-mum-ibuni-eiduny-kede-eong, Lugbara-miesimimavuko, that the poor English language can only describe as social-distancing; using masks so that your rwoya (what the poor English calls droplets), referring to the vaporous breathe that comes out of us that you can see as mist if you blow your breathe against the mirror or even glass spectacles, does not carry the virus from you to another person; sanitize surfaces where the virus can survive for up to 4 days on surface of, for instance, table-tops, door handles, chairs, arm-rests, micro-phones, etc.; regularly washing your hands with water and soap or use sanitizers; and never touching yourself in the soft parts of your body such as the eyes, the nose and the mouth with unwashed hands. All this is method one that we could see was available immediately.

The second method was to enable the body to fight the virus by treating the treatable diseases the victim may have, known as co-morbidities, such as diabetes, blood pressure, the cancers, HIV, etc. and boosting the defenses of the body by giving the victims the necessary vitamins, the other drugs that help the efficiency of the body such as hydroxy-chloroquine and the drugs that control the over-reaction of the body to the invasion by the virus.

Some diseases kill by provoking the body to over-react by panicking and producing too many body soldiers, in a non-coordinated way, ending up chocking up (kuniga) or blocking (kwigaza) the transport routes of the body (the blood vessels ─ emitsi) and inflaming the surrounding areas (the tissues). These were the two available ways: avoid the virus and assist the body to fight the virus if, for some reason, the avoiding has not worked.

The other two ways of defeating the virus are still being worked on, both here and abroad. These are the way of a vaccine (kugema, kutsirika) and the way of getting drugs that attack the virus directly and disable it or kill it, rather than just helping the body to fight it. We are hoping for success on the two fronts also.

In order to utilize the two available ways, between the 18th of March and the 1st of June, 2020, we announced a total of 35 measures in order to avoid the virus and treat the few that could not avoid catching the virus. Those measures were the following:

1. Close all the Educational Institutions. 2. Suspend communal prayers. 3. Stop all gatherings or conferences. 4. Banned Ugandans from moving to or through category one (I) countries. 5. Initially, allowed returning Ugandans provided they undergo mandatory quarantine, at their cost, for 14 days. 6. Allowed the non-agricultural gathering points e.g. factories, hotels, large plantations, etc. 7. Discouraged the hexagonal, extravagant Ugandan-style weddings. 8. Burials for a maximum of 10 people. 9. Suspended weekly or monthly markets. 10. At that time, allowed the public transport systems. 11. Suspended all the discos, dances, bars, sports, music shows, cinemas and concerts. 12. Advised the public to maintain hygiene measures. 13. Advised the public on good nutrition. 14. Stopped all passengers coming into Uganda by air, land or water. 15. Prohibited pedestrians from entry into the country from the neighbouring countries. 16. All public passenger transport vehicles were stopped. 17. Only food sellers to remain in the markets. 18. Private vehicles allowed to continue but with only 3 people maximum per vehicle. 19. Ambulances, army vehicles, garbage collection vehicles, etc., would continue moving if needed. 20. Banned the movement of all privately owned passenger vehicles.

21. Suspended the shopping arcades, shopping malls, hardware shops. 22. Directed all the non-food shops (stores) to close. 23. The super-markets were allowed to remain open at that time. 24. Established Food Markets in Kampala and the other towns were allowed to continue being open. 25. The food sellers were not allowed to go home during the 14 days. 26. Salons, Lodges and garages were ordered to be shut for the subsequent 14 days. 27. Like the farms, factories were allowed to remain open. 28. Construction sites were allowed to continue operating if they were able to encamp their workers. 29. The essential services i.e., the medical, agriculture, etc., were allowed to continue to operate. 30. Cargo transport by train, plane, lorry, pick-up, tuku-tukus, bodaboda and bicycle, were allowed to continue operating but only with minimum numbers of crews; 31. URA could not to close business; 32. Later, gatherings of more than 5 persons were prohibited. 33. The prohibitions for in-coming and out-going means of transport did not include the cargo planes, lorries, pick-ups and trains; 34. Health emergencies were allowed; 35. Boda bodas to stop at 5:00pm.

As a result of those measures, we have been able to blunt the invasion of the virus. Why do I say that? It is because, after more than 90 days of battle with the virus, Uganda has only got 774 positive cases of corona-virus after testing a total number of 170,789 persons. There were 1,067 non-Ugandans that tested positive but we sent them back to their respective countries. Within the figure of 774 of the Ugandans that are positive, 373 are truck drivers. Therefore, the graph of Uganda is as seen below, along with the graphs of other countries:

Moreover, none of the corona-virus infected persons has died. Instead, out of the 774 that have been found positive, a total of 631 have been treated in the manner described above and they have healed and have been discharged from hospital.
Therefore, as far as the death curve of Ugandans from the corona-virus, the graph of Uganda, together with other countries is as here below:

However, as I told you when I last addressed the country on the 1st of June, 2020, these lockdowns cannot and should not be in force forever. They affect sections of the economy.

Therefore, last time, the following measures were directed:
1. The shops selling general merchandize were allowed to open provided they were not in the shopping malls, the shopping arcades and the food markets.
2. The heroic market women that had been sleeping in the workplaces for all those days, were allowed to go home and come back to work daily if they wanted to.
3. Opening of the public transport means of mini-buses, buses, taxis, provided they carry only one half of their normal capacity plus the conductor except in the 42 border districts.
4. Hotels and food restaurants were allowed to open but had to observe social distancing.
5. People with private cars were allowed to drive as long as the car did not carry more than 3 people, including the driver. However, this relaxation of restrictions on private transport does not extend to the 42 border districts (including island districts).
6. Shopping malls, starting with the 4th of June, 2020, were allowed to open provided they observe social-distancing.
The guiding logic in all this, is not wealth, business, jobs or convenience. It is life. Do we live even when businesses suffer and jobs are lost or do we continue doing business, making money and die? I, unhesitatingly, choose life. That is the logic. Moreover, with discipline, we can even have both: life and wealth. This is provided we do what is recommended.

From the results of the tests for the last 96 days, the number of drivers that are testing positive is reducing. Unfortunately, we are getting new positives case from within the population that is mostly linked to either the drivers or the infiltrators from the neighbouring countries.
Hence, 62 of the positive cases are from Kyotera and 59 are from Amuru. This is on account of the elements that come through the porous borders. Since many people end up in Kampala and with the opening of the public transport system, although with some restrictions, we are beginning to see cases in Kampala. The number is now 37.

We are, therefore, entering a more dangerous phase. Previously, the problem was from the returnees from abroad, from the drivers and from those who pass through the porous borders from the neighbouring countries. However, with the re-opening of public transport and the movement of private cars, we are beginning to get cases of people who are positive but whose source of infection you cannot easily trace. If somebody picked the infection in a bus or a taxi where people were not observing the SOPs, how will you easily trace those who were on the bus or taxi with him or her?
Therefore, our scientists have been tasked to audit all the remaining restrictions and advise. In particular, some of the stakeholders have been petitioning the leadership to, more or less, completely re-open all the activities of the country. Whenever I get such requests, I refer them to the scientists.

Here below is their response:

1. Adjustment of the curfew time

The aim of the curfew was primarily to act as an enforcement tool to prevent high risk nocturnal activities/establishments like Bars, Nightclubs, etc., from conducting business and to deter crime under the cover of darkness. The start of the curfew at 7pm (just before darkness) and end at 6.30am (just at the beginning of daylight) was deliberate to deter crime. Pushing forward the curfew time from 7pm to 8pm, triggers delayed closure of other sectors like shops, supermarkets, public transport and gives opportunity of engaging in crime which strains law enforcement.
Uganda is in phase three of the Covid-19 pandemic as evidenced by the clustered cases in Amuru, Kyotera, and Buikwe, while the other border districts remain at high risk. Activities that promote convergence with non-feasible mitigations, can lead to occurrence of more clustered cases and eventually general community transmission. From the epidemiological point of view, the curfew acts as a measure to restrict activities that depend on convergence of people from taking place, hence reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. The idea is to discourage gatherings in homes, hotels, restaurants, etc. Going home early and staying home the whole night is part of the prevention. It means less mixing. The curfew time is, therefore, strategic to reduce risk of spread and preempt crime.

2. Increasing numbers from the current 3 people in private vehicles

The current recommendation is for a private vehicle to have not more than 3 occupants, inclusive of the driver. This can be increased to four people in a vehicle. The requirement for masks for all vehicle occupants should be maintained, preferably with natural ventilation.

3. Boda Bodas

The Boda Boda business is one that relies of transportation of goods and people. The Boda Boda riders and passengers are in close proximity during travel. Yet, physical distancing is an important prevention strategy for COVID 19.

Secondly, Uganda has transitioned from imported cases to phase 3 of the epidemic, with the epicenters in the districts of Amuru, Kyotera and Buikwe. Further, the boda bodas don’t use traditional/gazetted routes like main roads or feeder roads. Boda Bodas, if allowed to transport people at this stage of the epidemic, may lead to further spread with complexity in tracking cases and contacts, given the large number of people they transport and penetrating the society and reaching where the vehicles do not reach.

People, walking to their homes is safer than the bodabodas spreading with passengers in the community.

The mitigation measures like putting a barrier between the passenger and rider to prevent contact may pose additional risk of hurting the rider/passenger in case of a fall. The materials used for the barrier could also increase risk of COVID-19 transmission since some materials maintain viability of the virus longer.

The innovation of introducing the barrier is applauded. However, there is need to review the risks and provide further guidance through SOPs. The innovations will be reviewed by the MOH in consultation with the ministry for transport and the Boda Bodas Association. In the interim, they should continue with only the transportation of goods.

4. Places of Worship

Places of worship are characterized by the following risk profiles;
(a) Clustering with many people of unknown risk from multiple points of origin — these will open multiple congregations across several religious denominations countrywide and potential to fuel infections across the country.
(b) Difficulty to enforce preventive measures like physical distancing.
(c) Closed indoor settings where transmission is more efficient than the airy outdoor settings.
The various places of worship by nature attract persons irrespective of their nature, lifestyle and risk profile. Mitigation by use of masks, hand and cough hygiene may also be difficult to enforce complex especially in special religious ceremonies such as Holy Communion.

Finally, contact tracing could be complex in the event of exposure of multiple people to COVID-19 since there are no records or listing of congregants.
The restriction on religious gatherings should be maintained and reevaluated in the last phase of lifting of restrictions. The NTF and MOH should engage and involve religious leaders in the COVID-19 response across various levels, given their critical role in shaping societal perspectives and behaviors.

5. Arcades

The closely knit multistoried densely populated buildings with multiple entrances, no service areas for parking commonly known as arcades are areas where there is close clustering of people with unknown risk profiles. The arcades are interconnected and the ventilation is poor, which increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The ability to enforce physical distancing is minimal as witnessed by what is happening in Kikubo in Kampala.

We have already experienced clusters of COVID-19 in work places e.g. a factory in Buikwe area. The multiple entrances compounded with the convergence of people makes it difficult to track people in case of contact tracing.

The NTF should direct the MOH, Ministry of Trade, and KCCA to engage with the arcade owners to identify potential arcades to pilot prevention procedures.
KCCA, MOH, and Ministry of Trade should also review and enhance prevention compliance within the open shopping centers particularly Kikuubo and other downtown centers.

6. Mobile markets

The Mobile markets have a similar risk profile to arcades due to a high level of clustering. Further, they attract people from far and across various districts with potential to exacerbate disease transmission. More permanent markets could be easier to control in relation to prevention of transmission and tracking of contacts in the event of an outbreak.
The NTF should direct the MOH, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Industry and Ministry of Trade to develop options and SOPs to reorganize livestock and other mobile markets including agricultural produce.

7. Hawkers, food and other vendors

A hawker is defined as he/she who travels about selling goods, typically advertising them by shouting: “abatembeyi”. These persons interact with persons in their homes, offices and cars when at traffic light stops. The interactions are between people of unknown risk profiles and if one was positive, the transmission chain would potentially be explosive. It’s difficult to track these persons as they are highly mobile. It would be wise not to encourage hawking during this third phase of the pandemic. Additionally, they should be targeted with communication to ensure compliance to prevention measures.

8. Repatriation of bodies for burial in Uganda

COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets and by contact with contaminated surfaces. Current evidence suggests that dead bodies do not pose increased risk of transmission if handled with the appropriate precautions including ─ use of personal protective equipment including gloves, gowns, aprons and masks, preventing fluid leakage and minimizing manipulation of the bodies. Bodies should, therefore, be repatriated if they fulfill the following conditions:
• Medical Certificate of Cause of Death;
• Post-mortem report or Comprehensive Medical Report from the attending doctor/health facility;
• Embalming certificate (Embalming may not be done for COVID-19 bodies);
• Copy of passport/identification document of the deceased (The original passport /travel document/identification document to be presented to immigration authorities);
• Import license/import authorization from the Director General of Health Services;
• Appropriate packaging – wrapped in a waterproof body bag then placed in a zinc lined coffin and an outer metal or wooden box.

The ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs, will provide guidance and coordinated mechanisms to implement the repatriation. The relatives should be advised to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for guidance on the process.
The accompanying relatives will be required to undergo quarantine and other procedures for incoming persons and the burials will be conducted following the existing procedures for scientific burials. For the bodies of COVID-19 victims, the appropriate guidance will also apply.

9. Salons

Most of the activities in salons e.g. hairdressing, massages, etc., involve close contact between the dressers and their clients. Salons also often have many customers from multiple risk profiles and settings. Contact tracing of exposed individuals, if this occurred, could also be complex without detailed contact information of the customers.
The restrictions on salons should be maintained given the experiences elsewhere — salons have been documented to spread infections in other countries e.g. Ebola in West Africa, COVID-19 in the US, among others. NTF should direct the ministries of Health and Trade to engage with the salon owners to explore options for safety and training.

10. Travel in and out of Uganda for medical reasons

Travel into Uganda for treatment: Several people from neighboring countries such as South Soudan, may wish to enter Uganda for purposes of accessing medical care. Entry into Uganda has been restricted, except for cargo related handlers such as truck drivers and air cargo crew. This decision was made to reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 cases, due to the rapidly growing COVID-19 pandemic in all neighboring countries. This risk has increased with established community transmission across all neighboring countries. Opening for individuals to come in for care would thus further increase importation of COVID-19 cases.
The restrictions on entry across borders should be maintained until the issues above are resolved. Any urgent entry should be handled by the MOH on a case by case basis.
Travel outside Uganda for medical reasons: Like the entry into Uganda, travel outside Uganda will require opening several other related activities, expanding testing and quarantine facilities and detailed SOPs for the screening and authorization of individuals to travel.
This restriction should also be maintained. MOH and other relevant ministries should handle requests on a case by case basis.

11. Opening of the border districts

Restrictions on in country travel were lifted for several districts, excluding the border districts. After several weeks of tracking cases and contacts, the MOH has further mapped out the risk profiles across the districts to inform opening of additional districts. The maps below show the number of cases of community transmission identified across districts in the past two weeks. The number of districts and overall number of cases reduced in the past week. However, continued vigilance is required in all the districts that reported cases in the past two weeks. Restrictions should thus be maintained in the districts with evidence of community clusters and other high-risk characteristics in the past two weeks as detailed below:
a. Districts with clusters/potential clusters of infections that are still under investigation: Rakai, Kyotera, Amuru, Buikwe (cluster around one factory), Gulu, Arua, Adjumani, Moyo, and Nebi
b. Districts with refugees—to allow time to test the refugees and a risk profiling before the final decision is made: Zombo, Adjumani and Arua.
c. Districts with main border entry points that still need more comprehensive surveillance and testing and those with water bodies and informal crossings across water bodies: Busia and Bulisa, Kampala and Wakiso districts have localized, for example in one quarantine site ─ Mulago paramedical school. More vigilance is required in surveillance and compliance with prevention in the densely populated and clustered work places such as Kikuubo and other downtown locations.
The rest of the border districts can be opened but with continued vigilance and reporting of any suspicious events and compliance to prevention measures.

12. Compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures

To support the process of continued opening/lifting of restrictions, there is need to ensure compliance to COVID-19 prevention measures including wearing of face masks in public spaces, hand and environmental hygiene, among others. More effort is needed in areas with poor compliance to prevention measures such as Kikuubo in Kampala and other crowded down-town settings, some supermarkets that do not regulate the number of shoppers or enforce use of masks, crowding around small shops in suburbs, etc.

There are also several people who do not wear their masks properly and leave their nose and/or mouth uncovered with the masks hanging on the chin. This renders the masks useless.

These incidents of non-compliance pose a risk to all Ugandans and may lead to further spread of the infection. For example, we have experienced an outbreak in one factory with several people affected. Ugandans should know that if the disease escalates it may call for resumption of the restrictions to contain the disease spread and reduce deaths among the population. Several countries have reinstated restrictions due to poor compliance and increasing COVID-19 infections, a state that Ugandans should avoid.

Therefore, the only safe activities that can be re-opened now are the public passenger transport and private cars in some of the 33 border districts that do not have the corona virus. These are: Amudat, Bududa, Bukwo, Bundibugyo, Buvuma, Hoima, Isingiro, Kaabong, Kabale, Kalangala, Kanungu, Kasese, Kikuube, Kisoro, Kitgum, Koboko, Kween, Lamwo, Maracha, Mayuge, Moroto, Namayingo, Namisindwa, Ntoroko, Ntungamo, Pakwach, Rubanda, Rubirizi, Rukiga, Rukungiri, Sironko, and Yumbe.
There will also be a relaxation on the number of passengers in private cars from 3 to 4 including the driver, provided they are all putting on masks.

As far as the Educational Institutions are concerned, nobody who cares about Uganda or our children is talking about re-opening them as of now. It is just too risky. I am very hopeful on the front of the vaccine and treatment. There is a recent talk of the drug Dexamethasone that is very abundant because our doctors have been using it as an anti-inflammatory drug to treat brain inflammation, allergy, asthma and other conditions. Our doctors are studying it and the search for the candidate drugs with anti-viral activities is in high gear. We have given them all the support.

With the school population, let us be patient. In the meantime, we are going to launch a big long-distance education programme, certainly through radios. We are going to give free radio-sets to all the homesteads. Radios will soon be distributed. Also, the printed educational materials will be provided. I was personally, in favour of the free TV sets per village for the learners. The scientists are studying this on account of avoiding crowding by the learners in the villages, which may be a source of spreading the disease. They said the radio-set was better because it was per household. It is individual home-stead based.

With the politics, the Independent Electoral Commission, in consultation with the scientists, apparently, looked at three options, as far as the General and Local Government Elections that are due for early next year, are concerned. The three questions to be answered were:

1. If there is no vaccine or clear treatment for this virus by the time of the elections, can the Conventional Elections of mass rallies, processions, etc., be safely held?
2. Can and should the elections be postponed?
3. Is there a hybrid that can be constitutionally used to hold the elections on time, but safely?

They opted for number three (3) because the danger is in the holding of public gatherings. If you eliminate those and messages of the contestants are passed on through the radios, TVs, socio-media, etc., the gathering for the elections themselves, can be safely managed with hand-washing, social-distancing (okweeha emyaanya ─ leaving gaps of the necessary metres between voters in line ─ a type of tonsemberera, otampika). This would remove the uncertainty that would be created by the postponement of the elections but also ensure that elections are held safely. I call upon Ugandans to support this option because it can work if all concerned do their assignment diligently.

I end by reminding all of you of the avoidance measures:

(i) tonsemberera, otampika (social-distancing of 2 metres from person to person);
(ii) wash your hands with water and soap or use hand sanitizers to kill the virus your hands may have picked;
(iii) sanitize surfaces of tables, door handles, etc., often and sterilize documents and money by putting them in containers that can achieve the temperature of 70º C (this is hot enough to kill the virus but not hot enough to burn the documents ─ kusiriiza);
(iv) put on face masks, covering the nose and the mouth, all the time you are in a public place or in a car with others; the Ministry of Health should advise our people on the issue of air-conditioning in cars; it may be a danger channel; I hate air-conditioning ─ it is un-natural and dangerous; that is why I have no air-conditioning in any of my houses and I, long ago, switched off your air-conditioning in your State House, in Entebbe;
(v) never touch your nose, your mouth or your eyes with unwashed hands. Recently, on Heroes Day, Mzee Sseduunga of the Veterans Association said: “Obulwadde teburiina magulu. Yeffe ababutambuuza” ─ “the corona virus has no legs; it is us that transport (spread) it by our carelessness”. We have done well. Let us not relent when we have so far succeeded. The Acholi proverb says: “Agulu pii too idogola” which means that the water-pot breaks when you are about to deliver the water into the house, yet you have successfully carried the water from the well from many kilometres away. The Luganda one says: “Obwaato buffa magoba” ─ the canoe sometimes breaks when you are in sight of the shore. The Runyankore one says: “Waremerwa hakye nk’eyazariire akeenda ─ you failed narrowly to achieve your target like a cow that delivers a pre-mature calf when the ninth month is just beginning. We are about to succeed. Let us not relent.

The categories of our people that are affected by the lockdown, such as the salon operators, private universities, private secondary schools, private primary schools, etc., should be registered so that we can see how to get them, not free money, but cheap capital when their activities resume or even help them to do other activities. The Ministers of Gender and Education will follow this up.

God bless Uganda, God bless Africa.
I thank you.

The Government of Uganda has put in place Standards of Operations Procedures (SOPs) to guide hotels as they resume operations following the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions announced by the President of Uganda on 22nd March 2020. These Standards of Operations Procedures are aimed at ensuring the safety of clients (travellers or tourists) and staff besides having them protected from viral coronavirus infection. READ MORE…

Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Tightens Coronavirus Measures for Travellers

Entebbe International AirportAs countries prepare to open their airports, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has tightened travel measures at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport to combat the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that has strained the world.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority’s manager Sooma says that the new airport procedures are in line with new guidelines issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Airports Council International and the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of airports reopening.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority officials are working hand in hand with the Ministry of Health in Uganda, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs to ensure Entebbe International Airport complies with the set guidelines.

President Yoweri Museveni suspended these passenger flights on 22nd March 2020 to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Uganda. He, however, allowed cargo and emergency flights to continue operations. Before the lockdown, Entebbe International Airport could handle between 90 to 120 flights daily. READ MORE…

Uganda has restricted visitors from some countries with what it terms high cases of coronavirus, including China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Spain.

“Government has decided to ask travelers from the affected countries not to come to Uganda because the high cases they are reporting can easily be imported into the country,” the country’s health minister Jane Ruth Aceng said in a statement earlier this week.
A revised advisory released Wednesday by the Health Ministry increased the number of high-risk countries from 7 to 16, including the United States and the UK. The other countries include the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Austria, and Malaysia. In the new statement, travelers from these countries are urged to consider “postponing non-essential travel to Uganda.”
Aceng said those who insist on visiting the East African nation from these countries would have to self-quarantine at their own cost for 14 days either at home or at a government facility. Ugandans in affected countries are not exempt from the travel restriction.
Uganda also postponed the 2020 United Nations G77 and China Summit scheduled for mid-April in the capital of Kampala due to the coronavirus threat, the minister said.
More than 6,000 delegates from 136 member states were due to attend.
Rwanda Air, Kenya Airways and Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc are among some African airlines that have suspended flights to China. Ethiopian Airlines, however, tweeted that it will keep operating flights to China while adhering to international standards to ensure the safety of its passengers.

Following the outbreak of Corona Virus (COVID-19) and the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International
Concern (PHEIC) by World Health Organization (WHO), the Government of the Republic of Uganda has given directives
including Ministry of Health, escalating flight precautionary measures at all points of entry into Uganda.

The following procedures shall therefore apply:

1. All international passenger flights to and from Uganda aerodromes are suspended until 26 June 2020;

2. Foreign nationals who may require to be evacuated from Uganda to their home countries may be flown out provided that
the evacuating flight has no disembarking passengers and they are cleared by:
a) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA): protocoluganda@gmail.com / +256 414257525
b) Ministry of Health (MoH): ps@health.go.ug / +256 417712260
c) Ministry of Works And Transport (MoWT): mowt@works.go.ug / +256 414259322

3. Air traffic services and aerodrome services will be provided to the following operations;
a) Scheduled and non-scheduled cargo flights;
b) Aircraft in a state of emergency;
c) Operations related to humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights;
d) Overflights;
e) Alternate aerodromes identified in the flight plan (including those being used for extended diversion time operations
(EDTOs));
f) Technical landings where passengers do not disembark;
g) Other safety-related operations.

4. For aircraft certified for carriage of passengers that are authorized by the State of Registry/Operator to carry cargo in the
passenger compartment, the Operator is required to provide a copy of the authorization;

5. Air transportation of human remains into the country is suspended;

6. After disembarking of passengers and crew, the aircraft shall be sprayed for COVID-19 in accordance with the Operator’s
arrangement with the approval of Ministry of Health;
a) Disembarking passengers shall;
i. upon arrival be subjected to temperature and physical screening. Samples will be taken to check for COVID-19
and the results will be communicated as per Ministry of Health (MoH)/ World Health Organisation (WHO)
protocol;
ii. undergo mandatory quarantine at a government designated facility at their own expense under surveillance by
health authorities;
iii. dispose of their masks and/or gloves used during travel in designated waste collection containers.
b) Disembarking crew shall;
i. upon arrival be subjected to temperature and physical screening. Samples will be taken to check for COVID-19
and the results will be communicated as per Ministry of Health (MoH)/ World Health Organisation (WHO)
protocol;
ii. undergo mandatory quarantine at Protea Hotel Entebbe and Lake Victoria Hotel Entebbe for their rest period;
iii. dispose of their masks and/or gloves used during travel in designated waste collection containers.

7. For flight crew based in Uganda:
a) when crew members travel out of Uganda and return on the same day, they shall:
i) not be subjected to mandatory 14 days institutional quarantine if they do not disembark from the aircraft at the
destination;
ii) be subjected to mandatory 14 days institutional quarantine if they disembark from the aircraft at the destination;
b) in the event that the crew members travel out of Uganda and do not return on the same day, they shall be subjected to
mandatory 14 days institutional quarantine at premises designated by the Ministry of Health on return;
c) all crew members must fulfil the Port Health requirements at the airport/airstrip.

8. Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Permits Office will operate as follows:
a) Day time – 8 hours (from 08:30 am to 04:30pm);
b) E-mail/Telephone: aircraftpermits@caa.co.ug / +256752749656 or +256750595820.
AIC A26/20 is hereby replaced.

By direction of:
PROF. DAVID M. KAKUBA, FCIS, CGP, PH.D
DIRECTOR GENERAL
UGANDA CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY

March 4, 2020

Background
A press statement from the Ministry of Health in Uganda noted an outbreak of the Corona Virus disease; which was declared by the People’s Republic of China on 31 December 2019. This outbreak has now spread to all continents and over 47 countries are currently affected. This has greatly affected the global tourism and travel industry as this has put a limitation on travel to and from various countries.

Interventions in Uganda & travel recommendations by the Ministry of Health
According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda has no confirmed case of Corona Virus (COVID-19) as of March 3, 2020. In order to maintain this status, a number of travellers majorly from China and other countries showing signs similar to those of Corona Virus have been put under isolation for follow up and are being monitored by the Ministry of Health Surveillance teams.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Health has advised that travelers from affected countries will be required to undergo a 14-day isolation process for daily monitoring by the Ministry of Health. These countries include; China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Travel recommendations to the Uganda travel trade
It is therefore the recommendation and encouragement of the Uganda Tourism Board that intended travelers to Uganda from the affected countries maintain their bookings but delay their travel until a later date when the disease is globally contained and no longer considered an outbreak.
Additionally, due to the current threat posed by Corona Virus to Uganda travel trade and tourism assets, it is the recommendation of the Uganda Tourism Board that;

  • All tour operators, travel agencies, and accommodation facilities provide handwashing facilities with soap at their premises and on-board travel vehicles and vessels
  • To improve preparedness as a sector, tour operators, agencies and accommodation facilities are encouraged to maintain a stock of recommended masks (N95) for their clients
  • All tour operators and travel agencies should encourage clients who intend to visit Uganda to carry own recommended masks (N95)
  • All tour operators, travel agencies and accommodation facilities should educate their staff and clients (visitors) on preventive measures for the mitigation of contracting Coronavirus
  • These measures include; avoiding handshakes and body-hugging, washing hands with disinfectants, regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door handles

The government of Uganda is committed to keeping the country free of this outbreak and we remain confident in the proven track record of the Ministry of Health in preventing and in other cases containing such similar outbreaks.

We call upon the Uganda travel trade to be vigilant and follow the recommended measures by the Ministry of Health and report any suspicious cases to the toll-free numbers here: 0800 100066 and 0800 203033.

References
Ministry of Health press statementUpdate on Uganda’s preparedness situation following the Corona Virus 2019 outbreak in China and other countries of the world. – February 28, 2020
Ministry of Health press statementUpdate on Corona Virus- March 2, 2020
Ministry of Health Travel Advisory; March 2, 2020
Ministry of Health Poster on Corona Virus
Ministry of Health general information leaflet on Corona Virus

VIEW SIGNED COPY HERE

President Yoweri Museveni announced on Tuesday, May 19, that lockdown measures introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be further eased. All individuals aged over the age of six will be issued face masks which must be worn when in public spaces as a precautionary measure. Members of the public will be permitted to use private vehicles from Tuesday, May 26, so long as no more than three people are in the vehicle at one time. Following the issuance of face masks, public transport will be permitted to resume at half capacity from Saturday, June 4, except in districts located along with border crossings with South Sudan, the DRC, Kenya, and Tanzania. Shops, hotels, and restaurants will resume operations from May 26 in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Gyms, bars, and salons will remain closed through Monday, June 8. Schools will also reopen for students scheduled to sit national examinations in 2020. Meanwhile, the current nationwide curfew will remain in place from 19:00 to 06:30 (local time) through June 8.

Earlier on Monday, May 4, authorities eased several COVID-19 restrictions, allowing certain businesses to reopen, including hardware shops, mechanic workshops, metal and wood workshops, and insurance companies. Restaurants are permitted to open but only for takeaway orders; however, operations are allowed to resume at restaurants and hotels from Tuesday, May 26, under strict social distancing guidelines. Additionally, individuals travelling to work will need to take buses chartered by their employers, cycle, or walk to their workplace. Gatherings of more than five people are also banned.

Uganda’s borders remain closed since Saturday, March 21. Authorities have closed all land, water, and air points of entry until further notice, while only cargo and humanitarian flights will be allowed to land in the country.

As of Wednesday, May 20, there are 260 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide and no associated fatalities. The further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travellers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travellers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travellers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

As the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) spreads to low-income countries including Uganda, health authorities have intensified prevention measures that have been lauded by donors and the general public. There is no confirmed case in the country so far, but the measures in place are evidence of a country that knows too-well, the social and economic consequences of disease outbreaks with epidemic potential.

Disease outbreaks not new to Uganda

Since 2018, Uganda has been in emergency mode and has had to respond to outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), Yellow Fever, Measles and Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)— all in regular succession. At the same time, the country has been ready and constantly monitoring the EVD outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with heightened keen interest.

While this might put Uganda slightly ahead of other countries in the region in terms of readiness, authorities are not taking any chances. The Ministry of Health (MoH), with support from partners, has put in place a comprehensive response plan that is guiding ongoing preparedness activities.

Consequently, all health workers are on high alert and several health facilities have been prepared to manage expected patients. Public awareness and promotion of preventive behaviours such as regular handwashing are some of the major activities being implemented at the moment. These efforts are spearheaded by His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta who is constantly advising Ugandans to adopt and practice proven behaviours capable of stemming the spread of the infection.

Authorities speak out

“Evidently, we have seen how fast the Coronavirus disease spreads. The general public is our most important audience right now and even though there is no confirmed case in the country, the danger remains high,” notes Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health.

When the COVID-19 outbreak was declared, the MoH National Task Force constituted a preparedness response, placing a lot of emphasis on risk communication and community engagement to promote good health practices among members of the public.

The Ministry, with support from partners, moved to protect the general public by sharing information via electronic and print media, highlighting the safest practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, MoH continues to issue weekly statements on the country’s preparedness and what the public should do to ensure that they are safe form COVID-19.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health has capitalized on the use of social media to keep the public updated in real-time and to respond to various queries. In Uganda, the use of social media has grown exponentially, with the general public relying on the different platforms to access information from government authorities including the President of Uganda, who has over a million followers on twitter.

Surveillance and early detection of suspected cases are at the core of the current interventions as well. Again, the EVD-surveillance experience at the common border with DRC is paying high dividends in these areas.

“We have been monitoring the EVD outbreak in the DRC and responding to sporadic outbreaks of Yellow Fever and CCHF in some parts of Uganda. The declaration of COVID19 is yet another test that we are going to take on firmly, and the systems are in place,” says Dr Aceng.

“While Uganda has placed restrictions on travel, we still can’t take chances and as such, every traveller accessing the country through any border is being screened,” notes the WHO Representative, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam.

Case management heightened

Preparations to test and manage cases in the event that a case is confirmed in the country have also been intensified. For instance, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) has been equipped and prepared to run confirmatory tests in a matter of hours upon receipt of samples. In addition, Entebbe and Naguru referral hospitals have been prepared and equipped to manage COVID-19 cases.

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in various countries has brought about a lot of restrictions on travel, business and education which has disrupted economies. With almost all countries neighbouring Uganda having reported confirmed cases, it is just a matter of time for the country to follow suit. As Dr Yonas, notes, the only consolation for Uganda is that “there are experienced health workers prepared and ready to deal with the COVID19 outbreak.”

Authorities in Uganda are introducing tougher preventive measures against the novel coronavirus as the number of cases in the country rose to 53 on Wednesday.

President Yoweri Museveni announced the new measures in an address to the nation, adding he will act harshly against those who disregard his instructions.

The new measures include banning people from exercising in public because they do it in groups without observing social distancing. They have also been reportedly jogging in large groups on roads.

“Stop exercising in public. If you want to exercise, do it in your house. Exercise in your rooms,” he said.

The president has also instructed that no boda-bodas, or motorcycle taxis, are to be seen on roads after 2 p.m.

He also ordered the arrest of politicians giving out food to people because it endangers the lives of Ugandans by undermining the measures put in place against the coronavirus.

In addition, he asked landlords not to evict their tenants for defaulting on rent payments because at the moment they are not working.

Museveni said it was unfortunate that members of the police and army were severely beating people who were not following his preventive measures such as the curfew and not gathering in groups.

He has threatened to severely punish whoever is caught doing so.

”Stop beating people. I do not want to see policemen and soldiers beating people. Beating people is not acceptable. When you do that, you give a bad image of our security personnel,” he added.

His comments came after a public outcry over security personnel beating people who defy the curfew he imposed about two weeks ago. Some people have been admitted to hospitals after being severely beaten.

At the same function, Health Minister Jane Aceng provided the latest figures on COVID-19 victims.

She said that so far, they have tested 3,600 people, of which 53 were positive.

They include nine who were identified at Entebbe International Airport upon their return after they were found to have high temperatures, 26 identified while in quarantine and 13 who had the opportunity to interact with the public.

Uganda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, on 7th March 2020, addressed a press conference at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Kampala, during which she said that although there was no confirmed case of coronavirus in Uganda, the government was taking precautionary measures to ensure that the deadly virus doesn’t get into the country. She also announced that Uganda had cancelled all international conferences that were scheduled to take place in the country over the coronavirus outbreak.
Dr. Aceng pointed out that in order to reduce the risk of importation of the COVID-19, the Ministry of Health had been undertaking the following measures;
  1. Screening of all passengers entering through Entebbe International Airport and other border points of entry which include; Busia, Malaba, Cyanika and Egeru.
  2. All travellers coming from the COVID-19 affected countries are required to undergo mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days.
To further strengthen the prevention measures, the Government of Uganda has reviewed the evolution of the outbreak in the affected countries outside China, categorized them and recommends several measures for the different categories.
Criteria used for Categorization:
Three criteria were used to rank the countries; the criteria were weighed based on their importance in assessing the risk of importation from affected countries.
  1. Number of total (cumulative) cases: The higher the number of cumulative cases, the higher the chances of exportation of COVID 19 cases.
  2. Number of cases in the last 24 hours: This is a measure of active transmission of COVID-19 in the countries.
  3. Exponential increase in cases in the last 7 days: This is an indication of community transmission of COVID-19. This was measured indirectly by the percentage increase in the number of cases in the last 7 days.
The countries that had a cumulative number of cases of more than 100 and/or had more than 10 new cases of COVID 19 in the last 24 hours (total of 19) were ranked using the above criteria and scoring.
Category 1:
People residing in the following 7 countries (Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, China, Germany, and Spain) should consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda. Any traveller from these countries, including Ugandan nationals will be subjected to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival to Uganda even if they do not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
Additionally, individuals highlighted in category 1 who insist on visiting Uganda will be subjected to self-quarantine or institutional (health facility) quarantine at their own cost.
Category 2:
For the following countries (UK, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, India, and USA), the Ministry of Health will observe the travellers very closely and the evolution of the outbreak in these countries and advise on any restrictions in the coming weeks.
Category 3:
The rest of the countries will undergo the routine screening upon arrival and be advised accordingly on the measures to under-take while in country to prevent infection and where to report if not feeling well.
This analysis will be reviewed weekly and the travel advisory updated accordingly.
Any of the above countries that successfully contain the outbreak will be removed from this list after 14 days with no new cases.

Global Health Advisory: Do Not Travel. Avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

Exercise increased caution in Uganda due to crime and kidnapping.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, home invasion, kidnapping, and sexual assault, is common, especially in larger cities including Kampala and Entebbe. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Uganda:

  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Food and drinks should never be left unattended in public especially in local clubs.
  • Remain with a group of friends in public.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Carry a copy of your passport and visa (if applicable) and leave originals in your hotel safe.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Uganda.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.

President Yoweri Museveni on 21st July 20020 was live on TV and radio, outlining steps Uganda will take to further ease the lock-down as cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that have reached over 33 districts in the country.

Recently the President was angered by Ugandans’ complacency after partially lifting the lock-down. The use of masks and washing hands has deteriorated, media reports have been shown and the President is expected to come out with strong steps to manage the situation.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has permitted motorbike taxi operators to transport passengers who now have to wear face masks and helmets. Boda Bodas will have the option of working until 18:00 local time from 27 July.

The president also increased the curfew time by two hours-it will now begin at local time at 21:00.

President Museveni allowed the reopening of hair salons and some shopping arcades that were checked and met the requisite health standards to reopen as well.

President Museveni said the schools and worship places will remain closed.

Uganda has 1,072 confirmed coronavirus cases and no death. READ MORE…

Uganda Coronavirus Update 22nd June: President Museveni’s 16th Address to the Nation on COVID-19

  • 7 pm- 6:30 am curfew is to stay. The measure is both security and Health intervention.
  • Private vehicles can now carry four people, from 3 passengers they have been carrying. The four people include the driver, however, they should observe SOPs like wearing masks.
  • Restrictions on Boda Bodas remain. Despite innovations like barriers between rider and passenger, they remain a high-risk carrier. Therefore, Boda Bodas will stay carrying cargo not passengers.
  • Restrictions on Religious gatherings and places of worship remain. This is because they would pose difficulty in contact tracing and are a high-risk contamination area.
  • Arcades will stay closed. However, relevant agencies will work with arcade owners to pilot prevention procedures to inform future relaxation.
  • Mobile markets, just like the arcades, will stay closed. They are high-risk areas, present difficulty in contact tracing etc.
  • Hawkers(ing), vendors should be discouraged. They get in contact with many people, cant is traced etc. They should be targeted with information.
  • Repatriation of bodies for burial in Uganda. They can be repatriated but with strict SOPs from the Ministry of Health and Foreign ministries e.g body must be wrapped in a waterproof bag, placed in a zinc lined coffin and an outer metal or wooden box.
  • Restrictions on the cross-border entry will be maintained.
  • Salons to remain closed. Activities here involve close contact between/ among people. Contact tracing would be difficult too.
  • Travel in and out of Uganda for medical reasons should be barred, in principle. However, the Ministry of Health and other agencies can handle case by case.
  • Opening border districts. More mapping has been made to determine which stay locked. Those that will stay locked are; Rakai, Kyotera, Buikwe, Gulu, Arua, Adjumani, Moyo, and Nebbi (Clusters of infections under investigation). Zombo, Adjumani and Arua (districts with Refugees, need more testing). Busia and Bulisa (districts with major border/ water points). The rest of the border districts can be opened but with continued vigilance. They are Amudat, Bududa, Bukwo, Bundibugyo, Buvuma, Hoima, Isingiro, Kaabong, Kabale, Kalangala, Kanungu, Kasese, Kikuube, Kisoro, Kitgum, Koboko, Kween, Lamwo, Maracha, Mayuge, Moroto, Namayingo, Namisindwa, Ntotoroko, Ntugamo, Packwach, Rubanda, Rubirizi, Rukiga, Rukungiri, Sironko, and Yumbe.
  • Educational institutions will stay closed. It’s still too risky to open schools. In the meantime, the government will launch a big long-distance education programme through radios. Each homestead will get aa radio set.
  • The Independent Electoral Commission, after consulting scientists, has proposed a “scientific” electoral process. Ugandans should support this exercise.
  • Ministries of Education and Gender should register people affected by lockdown, such as the salon operators, private universities, private secondary schools, private primary schools, etc. so that they can be helped, not with free money, but cheap capital when their activities resume or even help to do other activities. READ MORE…

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the decision by the Government of Uganda to give safe haven to thousands of refugees fleeing escalating violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They have been stranded in a remote, inaccessible area in Mahagi Territory since late May.

The new arrivals were previously part of a larger group of approximately 45,000 people, according to local DRC authorities, who had attempted to flee towards the Ugandan border with the DRC shortly after deadly militia attacks on civilians in Ituri province on 17 and 18 May. While some have been able to return to their area of origin, thousands remained close to the border.

Some 1,500 asylum-seekers entered Uganda today through Guladjo and Mount Zeu crossing points in Zombo district. New arrivals were hungry and tired. Many also arrived in a frail state having been in a precarious situation, hiding in the bush for the past several weeks without sufficient access to food, clean drinking water and shelter. Most are women and children, as well many elderly people.

“My gratitude goes to the Ugandan Government and the local communities for this great show of solidarity with people fleeing conflict,” said Joel Boutroue, UNHCR’s Representative in Uganda. “It proves that even in the midst of a global crisis like COVID-19, there are ways to manage border restrictions in a manner which respects international human rights and refugee protection standards.”

Uganda implemented restrictions on border travel in March to contain the spread of COVID-19, halting admission of new asylum-seekers into the country. On humanitarian grounds, the President of Uganda directed its Government to temporarily re-open the Zombo border to allow life-saving aid and protection to be provided to the group of refugees. The Government has indicated that border controls are set to be reintroduced on Friday, once the humanitarian operation is complete.

UNHCR and partners, in coordination with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Ministry of Health and the district local government, have been working around the clock in Zombo to strengthen reception capacities at the border, including quarantine facilities, and to ensure adequate levels of emergency assistance are available.

All new arrivals will undergo security and health screening at the border. Vulnerable individuals will be identified and fast-tracked for assistance.

The group will initially be quarantined at Zewdu Farm Institute near the border crossing, which can accommodate some 6,000 people now. UNHCR and partners have installed tents, health screening areas, toilets, handwashing facilities and water tanks.

Following the mandatory quarantine period of 14 days, in line with national guidelines and protocols, asylum-seekers will be transported to existing refugee settlements.

The refugee response in Uganda is facing multiple challenges due to underfunding, including severe food ration cuts. With 870 COVID-19 cases in Uganda, including 52 refugees, UNHCR has been working with the Government and partners to construct and strengthen quarantine and isolation facilities and increase handwashing supplies and availability of masks as part of the response plan. Many of our transit and reception facilities across the country have been converted into quarantine centres for the district, where we provide additional support for hundreds of Ugandans and refugees on a daily basis.

“The needs are huge and growing,” said Boutroue. “Time is of the essence. If US$28 million is not made available immediately, we are faced with the risk of having to stop critical services providing non-COVID19 related health care, child protection and mental-health support.”

UNHCR has received just 18 per cent of the US$357 million required for its operation in Uganda. UNHCR appeals for international solidarity to help Uganda uphold its commitments towards the Global Compact on Refugees and maintain its progressive refugee policy during these difficult times.

The government of Uganda will lift lockdown restrictions imposed on Gulu district (Northern region) on Monday, June 29. Gulu is the only non-border district still under lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Local officials reportedly met with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health on Thursday, June 25, where it was agreed to lift the lockdown. Vehicular traffic will be able to resume and face masks will be distributed to residents now they are allowed to leave their homes.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced on Monday, June 22, that the ongoing overnight curfew will remain in place until further notice. The curfew is in place between 19:00 and 06:30 (local time). Most other existing restrictions will also remain in effect during this time, such as a ban on gatherings of more than five people. Public transport, including buses, coaches, taxis, and trains were allowed to resume at half capacity as of June 4. However, public transport was not allowed to resume in districts located along border crossings with South Sudan, the DRC, Kenya, and Tanzania. Members of the public are permitted to use private vehicles, with the president announcing that as of June 22, four people are allowed in a vehicle at one time as long as passengers use face masks. All individuals over the age of six must wear a face mask when in public spaces.

Uganda’s borders remain closed since March 21. Authorities have closed all land, water, and air points of entry until further notice, while only cargo and humanitarian flights will be allowed to land in the country.

As of Saturday, June 27, authorities have confirmed 858 cases of COVID-19 in the country and two associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

By June 11 total confirmed cases were 679. That is a jump of 172 cases or 34% from a week before. As the confirmed infections curve is climbing sharply, there is fear that cumulative COVID-19 infections could fly past the 1000 before end of the month.

The spike in numbers comes at a time when the government is implementing an easing of the lockdown imposed in March when the first COVID-19 cases were detected.  Indications are that instead of continuing with the easing the lockdown, the government might tighten it again.

In the fight against COVID-19, President Yoweri Museveni, the Ministry of health, and the National COVID-19 Taskforce have shown themselves to be cautious pessimists; always working for the best possible outcomes by anticipating and planning for the worst case scenario.

The result has been a government bureaucracy paralysed by fear of COVID-19. The Ugandan COVID-19 experts have been quick to impose harsh lockdowns and slow to devise innovative policy interventions.

Where most experts predict that COVID-19 will not go away but become endemic, Ugandan health official appear to imagine a country with Zero cases.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Ruth Aceng, while commissioning the distribution of government’s first batch of free masks to border districts on June 09, said if there are mass infections and deaths resulting from COVID-19, the country will be forced in another lockdown. The goal is to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

The minister’s view is shared by Dr. Diana Atwine, the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, who told The Independent that if the number of infections increases exponentially the ministry will tell President Museveni to reinstitute a lockdown.

“We are trying all we can to see that the number of COVID-19 infections don’t exponentially increase especially within the community,” Dr. Atwine said, “but if the community infections do increase then we will go to our authority and present the problem and then it will be upon him to decide; we cannot decide alone as the ministry, we can’t predetermine that. It is all about discussing and weighing the options that are available.”

Dr. Monica Musenero, an epidemiologist and senior presidential advisor on epidemics, also says if people keep on ignoring social distancing and stop wearing masks, another lockdown might be the solution to slow spread of the disease.

But Dr. Anthony Ekwaru Obuku, former president Uganda Medical Association, says with or without a lockdown coronavirus infections are going to increase.

“The lockdown slows the increase of infections. (But)The critical question should be so what after the lockdown?

“The lockdown should not be reinstituted rather we should use the information we got from the lockdown to strengthen our health sector because COVID-19 has exposed cracks in the health system. Let’s use this opportunity for resource mobilisation and mobilise the communities to get ready to deal with this pandemic.”

Obuku says every policy intervention creates new policy problems, the biggest being negatively affecting other existing services.

“Already some agencies like the World Bank say millions of children will miss immunisation due the lockdown,” he says, “even utilisation of public services has gone down. Actually some private health facilities had to reduce on their operations and in worse scenarios had to close.”

The uncontrollable fear of COVID-19 among health planners is usually blamed on lack of resources to handle huge numbers of infections should they arise. But the bigger contributor could be the lack of data and knowledge of how big or small the threat is.

On June 01 President Museveni made this point when he announced another postponement of re-opening of schools. He cited scientists who advised that “no proper risk assessment had been done” on the area.

“I had talked about opening schools after June 4, but we have further studied this with the scientists and the eventual decision was to delay. We have 1.4 million children in these candidate classes and finalists. We don’t have enough testing kits for testing those numbers every two weeks,” Museveni said.

Earlier, on May 18 President Museveni had announced gradual re-opening of public taxi transport and more shopping areas. He also announced reopening of schools on June 04 for P7, S.4, S.6 and final year students at universities and tertiary institutions.

Based on this, many schools and universities have issued reopening programs. Most indicated mid-to-late June as opening dates. Now everything is uncertain. The instinct now appears re-imposition of the blanket lockdown. There is even talk of a dead year 2020 for all learners.

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park situated in southwestern Uganda received 2 New baby gorillas ahead of mother’s day. The two mountain gorilla babies are born to the Nshongi gorilla family on the 1st May 2020 and Muyambi gorilla family on the 25th April 2020. This news has caused joy to these gorilla families and to the conservationists as well. The Nshongi gorilla family baby belongs to Kabagyenyi (mother) and Silverback Bweza. According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Muyambi gorilla family baby parents are yet to be established. The sexes of the babies are not yet known because it’s hard to get close to a new gorilla baby a few days after its birth because it is jealously guarded by its family.

Nshongi gorilla family was the first family to be habituated in Rushaga with about 35 individuals however, they split with time. As of today, the gorilla family has over 25 individuals and it is still the largest gorilla family. Kabagyenyi, the baby’s mother, was not a family member originally, she joined the group as a sub-adult. She is estimated to be around 10 years and this is her firstborn child. READ MORE…

Uganda plans to start easing strict lockdown measures from June 2 and also reopening schools for leaners set to do national examinations this year.

President Yoweri Museveni announced on Monday that authorities plan to distribute face masks to all citizens, six years old and above.

He is quoted saying that public transporters will also be allowed to restart operations but at half their capacity, while shops in buildings that are not crowded will reopen.

Uganda’s government joins other African countries in easing restrictions that were introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The measures in some countries have brought economies to their knees and raised the risk of hunger and social distress.

The East African country has enforced measures for almost two months to help reduce the spread of the virus outbreak by prohibiting movement of vehicles except for cargo and essential services.

Schools and places of worship were closed and a nighttime curfew was introduced by the government.

Uganda has 260 confirmed COVID-19 cases and no deaths.

President Museveni on Monday ordered a two-week nationwide lockdown in a bid to combat further spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

The President said that because some people had misused the earlier measures citing ‘indiscipline and inconsideration’, stringent measures had to be taken to prevent further spread of the virus.

This was Mr Museveni’s sixth address to the nation in a space of just two weeks.

He noted that out of the 33 already confirmed cases, 14 had interacted with the public citing the Masaka incident where the patient infected his wife and daughter.

“If people were not behaving carelessly, we wouldn’t have spread the virus. Since we are not sure, we should not take risks,” Mr Museveni said.

“We have decided to take additional measures. I would have given the public time to adjust. But they may transfer the sickness we are trying to prevent. They may think they are running away from danger when they are taking death to our people in the villages,” he added.

Almost all cases are imported except three which were got from those who had returned.

Measures

1. Prohibit all movement including private cars, which had earlier been an exception.

2. Suspended shopping malls , arcades starting on April 1.

3. Non food stores closed

4. Supermarkets remain open restricting number of people who enter at a time. Order things online.

5. Established food markets in Kampala and other towns remain open but observe 4metres distance between sellers and buyers

6. Factories make temporary camps for workers

7. Lodges, salons closed

8. Have workers at the farms

9. Essential services like medical, door to door deliveries, security, banks,garbage collectors, cleaning services, fire brigade, water, electricity, URA, UNRA, funeral services

10.Cargo only allowed crew and lorries restricted to only three persons

11.Prohibited gathering of more than five people

12. Curfew starting March 31

13. Government vehicles parked except for security

14. To set up a find with UDB

15. To discuss with banks, electricity and water over bills

16. Government workers stay home except security, health workers

17. Visitors to barracks suspended

18. Government to give food to needy

19. Directed police to arrest politicians who will be found distributing food. Others to be charged with attempted murder

COVID-19 MOES Resources

  •        Press update on the Re-opening of Education Institutions. Download
  •       The Ministry released a Circular informing the general pubic not to buy the self study materials. All                      learning Material is free of charge. Downlad File
  •        Preparedness and Response Plan for Covid-19 Download
  •        Framework for provision of Continued Learning During the Covid-19 Lock Down.    Download 
  •            Distribution of home study materials to learners Download File
  •        Uganda Broadcating Corporation National Education Program Time Table Download File
  •        Parents Guide to support Children’s Learning at home     Download
  •        Hon Minister and the  First Lady Janet Kataaha Museveni Second address  Download
  •        Circular on continuity of learning during COVID-19 lockdown. Download
  •        Position of UNEB concerning registration of the 2020 candidates Download File
  •          COVID-19 Dashboard.Access the latest statistics, fact sheets, press releases and situation reports about the COVID-19 in the context of Uganda Click Here 
  •            NRM Presidential Manifesto 2016-2021 Education and Sports Sector Accomplishments. Download File

Proposals to cancel the 2020 academic year for learners at all levels of education have been received with mixed reactions among parents. Schools and other educational institutions were closed on March 20, as the government announced measures to control the spread of coronavirus disease.

Although the government had initially announced to open up for candidate classes, the plan was cancelled early this month as a result of an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. There are more than 700 cases in Uganda so far with more numbers coming from the communities lately.

It’s on the basis of this that members of the National Economy committee of Parliament asked the government to declare 2020 a dead year for education. They argued that the online learning options that had been put in place by the government seemed not to work given the technology divide in Uganda.

During his Heroes day address on June 9, President Yoweri Museveni said that  he had received pleas from several parents urging him to keep schools and other institutions of learning closed for the rest of the year.

This position has been supported by Rev George William Kyeyune, the Namirembe Diocesan Vicar who says that the government should declare 2020 a dead year and go back to the drawing board to develop a comprehensive sustainable plan.

“Currently, we seem to be in a panic mode with everybody fronting his idea. And surprisingly some of these ideas have been tried out without analyzing whether they can work. We need a detailed plan and developing one cannot take a few weeks,” says Rev Kyeyune.

Diana Mbabazi, a resident of Nansana shares that it will be difficult for children to observe social distancing and all the other measures that have been put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus disease.

Barbra Kugonza, another parent shares that after wasting a lot of time on unpractical alternatives, the government needs to stop the entire process and plan forward. Kugonza adds that even the children are currently not fit for learning in a school environment and asserts that focus should be on continuous learning on digital platforms only for keeping learners engaged.

However, Scovia Tushemeirerwe, resident of Bukoto also says that stopping the academic year is not justifiable given the fact that nobody knows when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. According to her, it is high time the system adopts means of living with the pandemic.

“What if COVID-19 continues up to the next year? Does that also mean that there will be no learning? Education is an important aspect. We need more human resources and how do we get them, it is through the education system. Maybe we can change the way things function but not calling it off.” Tushemeirerwe says.

Prossy Awino, a resident of Kamwokya says that calling off the academic year will have other impacts like increased school dropouts especially among the girl child. She advises that the government should put up strict operational standard procedures so that school reopens.

Annet Kirabo, a resident of Kyambogo shares that although she would want her children to return to school, she is currently incapacitated financially after three months with no substantive income. To her, reopening of school could not benefit all, as the school will also need money to cater for administration and logistics.

The Ministry of Education has come up with a temporary intervention by instituting learning through self-study materials and televised lessons. However, the response plan has been criticized with some education experts saying it fell short because the learners were not prepared for the self-study learning approach and lack technical support to facilitate the self-learning process.

Having expected candidate classes to return to school on Tuesday 2nd June, on the evening previous to this, the President addressed the Ugandan people to say that he was extending the lockdown until the end of the month and so schools would remain closed. There has been some easing of the situation as now private cars are allowed to travel and taxis can carry passengers.

As the schools have been closed for almost the whole time the UK has been in lockdown, they are seeking to provide children with work which they can complete at home. Lessons are being broadcast on television and radio, but as the children supported by EVC come from very poor homes, they do not have access to these media outlets. Newspapers are printing work and this is being copied so that it can be passed on to the children. Teachers who live local to groups of children are overseeing their work, collecting and marking what they have done and seeking to give instruction where they can.

Due to the coronavirus being detected in Uganda recently, all schools have been closed down for at least a month in order to keep the children safe. This was a directive from the Ugandan government.

There is concern that some children may lack sufficient food at home as many relatives/families may not have sufficient food for the children. It is difficult to obtain precise information about this as freedom of movement is severely restricted and transport not allowed in the Ugandan lockdown.

Despite these major difficulties our people in Uganda are trying hard to reach parents/relatives to ensure children are kept safe, are encouraged to wash their hands regularly, avoid eye/face contact with hands, eat clean food and ensure adequate food is available for them. If the children are concerned about their symptoms, they have been told to report this to a responsible adult. This is now Easter holiday time for the children in Uganda.

The latest information we have is that Pre-Primary schools, Primary schools and Secondary schools will resume term when it is safe to do so, which we hope will be soon. The first term will end on 12th June 2020, the second term will start on 22nd June and end on 4th September 2020. The third term will start on 21st September 2020 and end on 19th December 2020. Universities and Tertiary Institutions will resume semester on 2nd May 2020. All this is subject to the children being safe from the virus in schools and also any updates from the Government through the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Normally, during school holidays, the children return to their parents/relatives who train them in local skills around the home and they see other family members who may not be able to visit them at school. Most of the holidays are for 2-3 weeks and children are brought back immediately when term starts. During the school holidays, where children are orphaned, they stay either with a relative, another responsible adult, or are looked after at our EVC schools. Parents/relatives are encouraged to contribute what they can to our schools and to play an active part in their children’s education.

Wherever we practically can, we are working to meet their needs through this difficult period and are in regular, often daily contact with our administrators, to provide any practical help and guidance. They have contacted many of the children by mobile phone, and thankfully, there is no recorded sickness to date. Many children have enough to eat as the families have the food they have grown, such as maize, cassava, sweet potatoes and some matooke, however, the amount of food available may lessen as time goes on. They have reached many families, but some are far away and so they have been unable to contact them or send food.

With term starting later than originally expected, as far as is humanly possible, we will now work with our administrators to ensure the children receive the food they need and which they would have had on their return to school. Of the £240 EVC annual child sponsorship, 20% is allocated to the child’s food, that is, £48. Therefore, the EVC schools have the funds to provide food for these children during the lockdown period, however long that may be. To this end, our administrators will work hard to take the food to the children as much as walking/transportation will permit. They and we are doing everything we reasonably can to support the children during this lockdown.

The Ministry of Education has postponed a planned press briefing meant to give an update on the phased reopening of schools and universities, as the country tries to ease the COVID-19 lockdown which has seen education institutions closed for more than two months.

In a letter signed by Patrick Muinda, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, and posted on Uganda Media Center’s Twitter handle, the Ministry cited issues that require further multi-stakeholder discussions and concurrence before issuing a final statement, as the reason for the postponement of this briefing.

The briefing, which had been scheduled for this week, was meant to give guidelines and dates for the reopening of schools, with students in candidate classes expecting to report to school a little after June 4.

“Consequently, the Ministry is now at the final stages of the consultative process on the reopening of schools and other educational institutions and is embarking on consolidating feedback obtained over the last week,” the letter reads in part.

The Ministry promised to communicate a new date for the briefing very soon.

We shall keep you updated on any further developments on this issue.

coronavirus. All these institutions, without exception should close so that we deny this virus high concentration. We don’t want the virus to find dry grass ready for ignition,” Mr Museveni said.
According to Mr Museveni, religious gatherings would also be suspended for one month with immediate effect.
“In the interest of our health, this should be suspended for a month with immediate effect,” he said.

Public rallies and cultural meetings have also been suspended for 32 days.

Mr Museveni also banned Ugandans from travelling to high risk countries. He said returning Ugandans will be quarantined at their cost.

“All outbound movements of all Ugandans going to or through Italy, France, South Korea, China, UK, USA, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway, Malaysia, Pakistan, San Marino, Austria, Netherlands has been banned for 32 days,” he said.

The Chairperson of the Bushenyi district COVID-19 task force has directed all journalists in the district to undergo a mandatory virus test. According to the recent results released from the Ministry of Health, two people have been confirmed positive to COVID-19 in Bushenyi and were reported as alerts. Since the lockdown was lifted, Uganda is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Last week, all local government staff at Bushenyi were subjected to compulsory testing and asked to stay home as the administration block was being fumigated after one of them was reported to have tested positive.

Jolly Tibemanya now says that journalists also need to undergo mandatory testing because they interact with many people and have attended the district taskforce meetings and this exposes them to contracting the virus.

He says that the room has already been booked and a special doctor at the health centre in Bushenyi will pick their samples.

Jonas Tumwine, BFM’s managing director, welcomed the order saying media are busy asking other people to follow SOPs, adding that it’s important for them to check too.

Chris Muganzi, the chairperson Bushenyi Journalists and Media Association says it is supposed to be voluntary testing as it involves psychological torture and no one will be there to counsel them. He welcomed the idea though but wants it to be voluntary.

Tibemanya says the facility has counsellors who provide such services and will help advise the journalists.

Felix Ekiregabazana, of Crane FM in Ishaka, said he was happy to have his samples taken because he often encounters various groups of people in the field and Bushenyi is one of the districts that has had a group event. “I am very happy to be checked as I connect with a lot of people and now Uganda is having a lot of group cases.”

The Ministry of Health today reported 318 new cases of COVID-19 in Uganda making it the highest number recorded in a single day since the pandemic started.

Hit hardest is the Amuru Jail, where 153 inmates with the Coronavirus were found to be healthy.

In the midst of the rising cases, the Ministry of Health also mentioned several institutions in Kampala including Malaysia Furnishing, Royal Pharma, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, IGG, KCCA, Toyota, NRM Secretariat, Eagle Holdings, Megha Industries, New Vision Media Houses, NBS, NTV, BBS and private clusters.

“This highlights the need to ensure that workplaces strictly observe the Standard Operating Procedures and Infection, Prevention and Control measures to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Minister of Health Ruth Aceng said.

Uganda has also recorded 1 COVID-19 death, a 49-year-old male from Mbale district bringing the total cumulative COVID-19 deaths to 20.

The cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Uganda is 2,166.

Amuru Hospital Cases

Since one of the prisoners in Amuru prisons reported COVID-19 as signs and symptoms last week the Ministry of Health launched an inquiry.

“The Ministry of Health has conducted further inquiries in Amuru Prisons, in light of the above. 153 of the 205 inmates tested positive. Of the 28 prison staff, 1 tested positive for COVID-19, “Aceng said.

Since then, the Ministry working with Uganda Prison Services has transferred all of the reported 152 inmates to Gulu Central Prison, which serves as an auxiliary isolation centre.

The inmates are currently being attended to by a combined team from Mulago National Referral Hospital and Gulu RRH supporting the Uganda Prisons Services health team for appropriate management.

Gizamba, a 49-year-old pastor at the community cornerstone church in Nkoma district, died on Wednesday at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in the northern division of Mbale city.

According to the director of the Mbale hospital, Dr Emmanuel Tugaineyo, the samples from the deceased were collected shortly after his death and taken to Kampala where they turned positive.

He said the patient showed signs of COVID-19 and symptoms that included breathing problems among others.

Dr Tugaineyo said the hospital had held the body because before the burial on Saturday in Bugsege sub-county in Sironko district was conducted at the Mbale city morgue.

However, relatives of the deceased have refuted claims by the medics saying that their person had pressure which he could have died of but not coronavirus.

Charles Wogali, one of the relatives said the shepherd has long been complaining about the strain. Wogali said he was surprised when medics told him he died of COVID-19.

He wonders why any family members of the pastor were not quarantined or their samples were selected for research.

Asad Gulaoba, Bujoloto cell chairman says the deceased has been his vice-chairman but he would complain about chest pain whenever they met in meetings.

Nevertheless, the Mbale District Surveillance Officer Edward Nyongesa said the underlying conditions of pressure and diabetes were the ones that contributed to the victim’s swift demise.

He cautioned people against any talk of pretending that COVID-19 doesn’t exist claiming the disease is in the communities right now.

Gizamba ‘s death brings to two the number of victims who died at Mbale from COVID-19. Also confirmed to have died in Mbale Hospital was another 60-year-old Hamis Shafic, a resident of Budi B village in the former Namanyonyi sub-county in Mbale district, last week.

Since that time Uganda has recorded 20 COVID-19 deaths.

In just a day, Uganda declared 97 new cases of COVID-19, adding the to the 318 a day earlier. Among the patients, the Uganda Police Force Chief Political Commissar Asan Kasingye reported that he had tested positive for COVID-19. In a tweet, Kasingye said ” BAD NEWS!! I’AM COVID19 POSITIVE. 💥”
The cumulative total confirmed cases are now 2,263 but at a healthy 1,226 with recoveries.

The Information and ICT Minister Judith Nabakooba Sunday also addressed media outlets, warning of a new phase as cases continued to increase.

“We all now know that Uganda’s battle against COVID-19 has reached a critical stage. Therefore, the public collectively must admit that we have to blame ourselves for the present situation. We haven’t taken the guidance of our experts seriously, “Nabakooba said.

She confirmed that the capital city of Kampala has now turned out to be the main source of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Kampala had reported 65 new cases as earlier.

Kitgum district COVID-19 task force ordered for the immediate closure of Kitgum maternity home, a central-division private health facility after eight of its health workers tested COVID-19 positive. Health workers are part of 17 people who, according to results released from the Central Public Health Laboratory [CPHL], tested positive for the contagion today in Kitgum district. In an interview on Friday, Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech told URN that the positive cases are all contacts from a confirmed positive Lamwo district.

Komakech says that the health facility will now be shut down to ensure that all staff and any patients who have come into touch with the health workers are identified and put under quarantine.

Reports from URN indicate that the positive cases are all primary contacts of an aspirant vying for the seat of the Lamwo district chairman who tested positive for COVID-19 in Madiopei sub-county last week. During a meeting on Friday, a laboratory specialist at Kitgum General Hospital told the task force members that the politician had made contacts with the health workers while seeking medical treatment some time ago.

He states that after he tested positive, 11 of the 39 primary contacts rounded off from Kitgum municipality were from Kitgum maternity home. Eight of his contacts from Kitgum maternity home, seven from his Apollo grounds residence and one health worker from the Kitgum General Hospital tested positive for COVID-19, he said.

In the central division, the RDC also described Apollo grounds as one of the region’s COVID-19 hotspots, noting that any form of business that attracts gatherings and excessive movements will be subject to a lockdown.

Komakech called for collective caution citing the fact that COVID-19 network transmissions have already begun to manifest themselves.

Six suspected COVID-19 patients are currently undergoing quarantine at St Joseph’s Kitgum Hospital, says Kitgum District Health Officer Dr Alex Olwedo. This is the highest number of cases reported in a single day in the district of Kitgum taking the total confirmed cases to 19 since March this year.

The supervisory team was still mobilizing for transportation this evening to trace all 17 positive patients for immediate referral to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.

The Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA has listed 59 commercial buildings which do not meet standard operating procedures for COVID-19 management and control.

Earlier today, the minister in charge of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs Betty Amongi told reporters that the city task force had inspected a number of commercial buildings, especially arcades, which were opened in July and found that some of them did not follow standard operating procedures.

After more than four months of a closure imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease several of the arcades were opened last month. Upon reopening, they were expected to set up isolation centres, provide hand-washing facilities at the entrances, CCTV cameras at all exits and a team to follow all directives from the Ministry of Health.

However, one month down the road, the city authorities have observed that the guidelines were all discarded. The non-compliant buildings which have been cited include Mini Price centre, Vienna Business centre, Boost Complex, Arrow complex, Naiga Chambers, Tropical Complex, Senna Arcade, Masaka Jubilee, SB plaza, King Fahd Plaza, Sun City Arcade, Lucky Complex, Sserwaniko Music Centre, Faiba Arcade, City Centre Complex, MM Plaza, Majestic Plaza and Namaganda Plaza.

On the same list is Freeman Foundation ventre, Energy centre, Total Business centre,Natik Plaza, Kisekka Traders Arcade, Mogadishu Business Centre, Katonga business centre, Farmer’s Mall, Esco plastics, New Taxi Park Mall, New Container Village, Jesco Beauty centre, Jamboree, Pentagon, Atlanta Textile, Qualicel Bus Terminal, French plaza, Printers House, and Nabukeera Plaza.

Also listed is Genesis plaza, Planet plaza, Venue plaza, Fair House, Nasser printers, Elite apartments, Jenna plaza, Nasser Nkrumah plaza, Kooki towers, Namayiba plaza, Ivory plaza, Zainab Aziiza Emporium, Edmul building, Numak, Bhatia building, Tweese plaza, Tesco Plaza, The Mall, Sun City plaza, Fortune plaza and Roofing building.

Amongi says that they have given notices to the people concerned and declared an ultimatum of seven days for them to comply or face closure.

When the government began partial lifting of the lockout, standard operating procedures were set as a way to curb coronavirus disease spread. For every person, over six years it became compulsory to wear a face mask whenever in public and to wash hands before using public transport or entering shopping centres.

In markets, vendors had to maintain a distance of one meter from each other and from customers. Taxis were allowed to hold just half their capacity while boda bodas had to keep customer information and sanitize their seats before boarding. Nonetheless, the public will not follow any of these guidelines.

Amongi urged obedience before hinging on another potential lockout in Kampala.

As of yesterday, 1,750 confirmed cases of COVID 19 had been registered in Uganda, of these 394 in Kampala. Fifteen of the 19 deaths so far reported are also from Kampala.

KCCA acting director of Public Health and Environment Dr Daniel Okello Ayen says almost every parish in Kampala has a confirmed case, yet still, the numbers are rising swiftly. Dr Okello says the public needs to be more vigilant and observe SOPs issued by government.

Ten more refugees have tested positive for COVID-19 in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement Area in Kikuube District.

Dr. Nicholas Kwikiriza, the Kikuube District Health Officer – DHO says the confirmed cases are settlement contacts from the Congolese national who succeeded in the pandemic on August 8, 2020.

The ten people are a part of 124 suspects who were quarantined after the Congolese refugee’s death.

Richard Tabaro, the RDC-Commissar of the Kikuube Resident District, has asked people in the refugee settlement area with Covid19 about symptoms to give up for testing to health officers.

Kyangwali Refugee settlement was home to more than 120,072 refugees, according to Uganda-Refugee Statistics as of June 2020. Congolese refugees form the majority of the population in the settlement, which also hosts Rwandan, Burundian, South Sudanese, Somalis and Kenyan nationals.

Five Radio Pacis workers in Arua were isolated at the Arua hospital after checking COVID-19 positively.

The five include two security guards posted on the transmitting tower of the radio station, the cashier station and two presenters attached to the 94.5-fm studios broadcasting in Madi, Luo and Alur languages.

The Arua Diocese media centre in Ediofe has also quarantined three other employees who were in close touch with the five.

The station decided to conduct a test for all 91 staff, and when the results were released on Monday night and five were positive, according to Paul Bishop Drileba, the Arua District Health Officer.

“We told you, people, that you stand a high risk by virtue of your work as journalists and you can see what has happened to Radio Pacis staff,” remarked Drileba. Drileba adds that they are also tracing for all the guests who appeared in the 94.5 FM studios from 11th August to 17th August.

Gaetano Apamaku, the station manager Radio Pacis confirmed the cases. He says that they have agreed with the task force to quarantine the three contacts at the station.

Apamaku explains that the station will remain open while the staff and visitors have been asked to observe the Standard Operating Procedures- SOPs.

Radio Pacis which is owned by Arua diocese has over 90 staff employed at Ediofe where there are two broadcast frequencies and in Gulu where they run a third frequency.

Mbale Regional Referral Hospital has stopped accepting COVID-19 patients for the second time due to room constraints. Dr Emmanuel Tugaineyo, director of the hospital, says all 50 beds in the COVID-19 isolation unit are filled.

The Mbale Regional Referral Hospital serves 16 districts in sub-regions Bugisu, Bukedi and Sebei. At present, it has admitted patients from the Tororo, Busia and Bukwo border districts. Yet Dr Tugaineyo says new admissions have been halted before the old patients are discharged.

“I told my team not to accept any patient because we were running out of beds now. Once those who have recovered are discharged, we will restart admissions, “Dr Tugaineyo said.

All new patients are now being transferred to Lira, Moroto, Jinja Regional Referral hospitals which pose some of them with a huge challenge. Dr Tugaineyo says they got a donation from Absa bank for a tent with the capacity to host ten beds, but due to lack of beds, they still have to install it.

The Mbale District Health Officer, Dr Jonathan Wangisi, has warned of the rising Covid-19 cases arising from community infections.

At least 156 patients went through the Isolation Unit of the Mbale Regional Referral Hospital. In June, in the isolation unit that operated in the ambulatory department, the hospital ran out of space, prompting management to move them to the mental health unit.

The Nakaseke District Task Force directed all COVID-19 patient contacts to self-isolate because of lack of resources to run the quarantine centres.

Nine positive COVID-19 cases were reported at the district. Kiwoko hospital has reported the latest eight cases after health workers have tested positive for the virus. The health workers contracted the disease after one of them was in a burial in the district of Buikwe.

According to the district surveillance study, after communicating with the successful patients, at least 354 communications were tracked from the health workers and community. Nevertheless, only 10 contacts were put at Kiwoko hospital under institutional quarantine.

Fred Nayebare Kyamuzigita, chairman of the Nakaseke District Task Force at COVID-19, says the district gazetted Nakaseke Hospital and Kiwoko Hospital as quarantine centres but unfortunately they did not receive funding from the Health Ministry.

Kyamuzigita says the Nakaseke hospital quarantine centre stopped accepting suspects after failing to obtain Personal Protective Equipment – PPE for health staff, bedding and food among other suspect requirements.

He says that at Kiwoko hospital, less than 10 contacts were quarantined and others were led to self-isolation due to lack of space.

Kyamuzigita, however, says this was risky after reports have emerged that one of the key suspected COVID-19 patients had fled home and their whereabouts are unknown.

The District surveillance team is also stated to have scaled back on contact tracking, citing fuel shortage and lack of vehicles.

Ntumwa Matovu, the Nakaseke Hospital administrator says they also have no budget to care for extra drugs required to treat other chronic contact diseases apart from lack of money.

A health worker at Kiwoko hospital who preferred anonymity says the facility is also restricted due to lack of Task Force support and many contacts have since been discharged.

Disan Lwanga, a district councillor for Kiwoko city council, says there are concerns that people in self-isolation may not follow the guidelines on lack of compliance that may lead to group infection.

The district taskforce on COVID- 19 has since appealed to the Ministry of Health to extend funding to the district to contain the spread of the disease in the community.

Uganda has so far registered 1,560 confirmed cases and 15 COVID-19 deaths.

Uganda reported two new deaths and 60 new cases, as the pandemic COVID-19 numbers shot up mostly in Kampala Region.

The two deaths were patients admitted to one of the most important hospitals in town, Rubaga. Which takes the number of deaths in the past month to 15.

The 60 cases from the Sunday check plus the 66 a day earlier means that the country has to deal with 126 cases — hospitalizing them, calling them, and isolating them.

Also today it was reported that a member of the Vision Community team was one of those from Kampala who tested positive.

It is the third-largest single-day increase since the Coronavirus Virus outbreak in Uganda. The highest was registered in May when up to 84 people tested positive in one day – that was before foreign truck drivers were removed off the list of cases in Uganda.

Early this week Kampala was declared a hot spot by the Ministry of Health warning that there are a lot of cases yet to be detected as already positive people from the highly populated downtown arcades of Namaganda and Garilaya Plaza have been obtained.

A member of The New Vision’s staff has screened COVID-19 positively, and the media house expects further tests to ensure they are not compromised.

“I wish to inform you that a COVID-19 case has been registered by Vision Group. One of our workers working at the Kampala headquarters tested positive over the weekend, “said CEO Robert Kabushenga in a letter to staff.

Those staff who have been in touch with the case COVID-19 will be forced to remain at home and isolate for 14 days.

The announcement comes one day after Uganda registered 66 new cases, including many from Kampala.

It is the second-highest single-day increase in Uganda since the Coronavirus Disease outbreak. The highest was registered in May when, in one day, up to 84 people were tested positive.

In a Sunday evening statement, the Ministry of Health said 30 of the positives had been reported from Kampala, seven from Wakiso and six from Namisindwa district, where Uganda’s first person to succumb to the viral respiratory disease lived.

About 11 of the cases contained encounters with previously reported cases in the districts of Kampala, Namisindwa and Nakaseke. Yesterday nine of the contacts were also from Kampala.

Early this week Kampala was declared a hot spot by the Ministry of Health warning that there are a lot of cases yet to be detected as already positive people from the highly populated downtown arcades of Namaganda and Garilaya Plaza have been obtained.

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Uganda’s health ministry on Sunday 16th August confirmed 66 new COVID-19 cases.  Uganda recorded 84 cases of the novel coronavirus on May 31, the highest daily rise in the east African country so far. This is the second highest daily rise in three months, making the total number of infections to 1,500.

A total of 16 foreign truck drivers who checked COVID-19 positively at Common Border Entry Points in Uganda were not allowed into the country.
The country has registered a total of 1,142 recoveries and 13 COVID-19 deaths according to the ministry since the index case was identified on March 21.

Several leaders across Kampala are asking for more Government face masks. They say the number of masks sent to their areas is insufficient for the size of the population and many of their residents were not covered up.

The Government had set out to distribute face masks as a preventive measure against coronavirus disease to all Ugandans aged six and above. The distribution started in June from the border regions, before it spread to other parts of the country. The Kampala Capital City Authority issued 2,067,500 distributing masks.

Moses Kavuma, the vice-chairman of the Budonian zone in Kisenyi, Mengo parish, says they received 1,000 masks, all distributed but still more than 500 uncovered residents are registered. Kawuma is worried that in the region which has already reported a COVID-19 death the preventive measures are weak.

Israel Musaazi the Kifumbira zone chairman in Kamwokya says he got just 8,000 masks out of the more than 10,000 people who apply for them.

In two-zone Gogonya, Makindye Division, area councilor Jane Namukasa says they had only received 1,300 masks after registering more than 9,000 people who qualified to get masks. Before beginning the distribution the region chairman lobbies for more from the division.

Meanwhile, as mask distribution continues in Kampala, the nature of the protective wear has been challenged by a portion of residents. Several masks have short strings with a larger face cover that do not reach the ear while those with longer strings are too small for the face.

Another Kamwokya resident who identified himself as Isma Mijaagulo received a mask but immediately put it away saying his face was too small.
Nasir Matovu, from the division of Lubaga, also expressed dissatisfaction with the masks saying they ‘re so tight on him that it’s hard to breathe in them yet the quality is also poor compared to what was already on the market.

Six companies have been licensed to manufacture government masks. Which include Lida Packaging Products Limited, Southern Range Nyanza Limited (Nytil) Evergreen Safaris Limited, Jude Color Solutions Limited, Fine Spinners Limited and Winfred Fashion Designers Limited. However, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards has certified 49 companies to produce non-surgical masks.

Catherine Akech, one of the mask’s recipients says her polyester made mask holds her nose so tight that she is barely able to breathe. Akecho, an expectant mother often worries she may not wear the mask as much as possible.

Members of the COVID-19 Task Force in Arua District are struggling to manage more than 20 children whose mothers are isolated at a quarantine center at Arua Prison Primary School.

The team leader of the COVID-19 surveillance and laboratory services unit in Arua, Norman Cwinyai, said their are over 20 children in the quarantine center while one is with the mother at the Arua hospital case management centre. Majority of the children are breastfeeding, according to the task force, and thus can not be separated from their mothers.

Cwinyai says collaborators desperately need to come to the assistance of the children who are threatened with hunger as food runs out of stock.

Dr. Filbert Nyeko, Arua hospital’s director says the mothers lack baby diapers and sanitary facilities in addition to handling children at the treatment centre. There is no budget allocation to provide for the children’s needs, according to Dr Nyeko.

Currently there are five positive cases under management in the district of Arua, 81 suspected cases in quarantine and 26 in self-quarantine. These include refugees and travelers at high risk.

Arua Resident City Commissioner Nahori Oya has called on all stakeholders to assist the task force in addressing the problems resulting from the involvement of mothers in quarantine.

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng is irritated by the high fees charged by private laboratories to conduct coronavirus testing (COVID-19). The Ministry accredited three private laboratories to perform virus testing.

According to Bashir Alicwamu, one of the facilities officials, Lancet Laboratories is currently performing the tests at a cost of 334,900 Shillings. The other MBN laboratories will start testing in two weeks while the third accredited laboratory, Medipal hospital laboratory in Kololo, stopped testing because they were not fully equipped for the task according to a source at the facility.

Dr Aceng says that while they had agreed to charge for the service with the private facilities, they did not anticipate that this would be exorbitant.

The minister added that she had received reports that Mulago National Referral Hospital paid 100,000 Shillings for the tests, an agreement she says she didn’t know about.

Earlier the government had disclosed they incurred a cost of USD 65 (240,000 Shillings) for each study. With the more than 300,000 Shillings now being charged by the private labs, many who would like to opt for a test would find a private service unaffordable.

Dr Aceng says the laboratories will be engaged in revising their prices as the government’s goal is to have as many people as possible aware of their status , particularly that the country is currently in a process where more people will be testing positively with the advent of widespread community transmission with uncertain lines of how accurately people acquire virus.

In the nation 304,485 people had been screened for COVID-19 by Thursday, according to MOH estimates. 1332 of these tested positive.

An aspirant to parliamentary seat in the Mbale district of the Bungokho North Central constituency has tested positive for Covid-19. Information collected from Mbale health officials reveals that the aspirant is isolated at the National Referral Hospital in Mulago, where he is being handled.

Edward Nyongesa, the Mbale District Surveillance Officer, told Uganda Radio Network that the aspirant offered himself to all aspirants to check for Covid-19 before nominations in line with the National Resistance Movement-NRM Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr. Tanga Odoi.

“His results were the first on the list and when we called him he told us he was in Kampala printing his posters. We alerted the Kampala team and he has now been evacuated and is admitted at Mulago National Referral Hospital,” he said.

He revealed that plans are underway to trace the aspirant’s contacts and family members for isolation.

“You see now Covid-19 is in the communities and everyone is a potential candidate for the disease, people should be extra careful to prevent the spread of the disease,” he said.

Toyota Uganda temporarily closed its Kampala branch located at First Street,in the  Industrial area after three of their staff tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In a statement issued today, 10th August 2020,  Mahmood Omar, the Managing Director, said that the branch will be temporarily closed effective as additional steps, as guided by the authorities are put in place.

Spaeking to Omar, he said that last some of their staff at the branch last week reported to management that they were feeling unwell. They had mild flu like symptoms and as a precautionary measure they requested that they be tested.

He says Interim results from Ministry of Health have been received and three of their staff have so far tested positive for COVID-19. These employees have been referred to Mulago Hospital by the Minisrty of Health for further observation and treatment. The rest of the employees at the Kampala Branch, in line with their safety procedures and Ministry of Health guidelines, have been requested to stay at home under the mandatory 14-days quarantine as the situation continues to be monitored.

“This is a challenging time for us and all our stakeholders, but we assure everyone concerned that we are fully committed to play our part; whatever it takes to protect our staff and our clients,” said Omar in the statement.  

The Mannaging Director says strict safety measures and SOP guidelines will continue to be followed at their Head office in Namanve Industrial Park and  in their branches countrywide which he says are still open.

Uganda has reported another COVID-19 death which brings the total number of confirmed deaths to 4. The deceased is a 61-year-old woman, a Kiyimbi resident in Nakulabye, Kampala who died Friday. She was admitted to Mengo Hospital before being transferred to the National Referral Hospital in Mulago where she succumbed to the illness. The deceased presented with COVID signs of cough, fever, chest pain and breathing problems after admission at Mengo.

Currently, the ministry is carrying out contact tracing of people who might have come into contact with the deceased. More than 200 contacts from all previously reported deaths were being followed up as of Friday.

21 New positive COVID-19 cases were also reported in the region. Of the reported cases, 10 are returnees who entered the country recently while six were truck drivers. These also tested positive for four communications and two group warnings.

The health ministry says they are conducting inquiries to determine from where the cases may have been contaminated. Uganda has a total of 1,176 confirmed COVID-19 cases with, and 1,045 recoveries as of Saturday.

Officials from the Ministry of Health have confirmed the second death of Coronavirus as the cases in Uganda rose to 1,115 on Sunday.
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokesperson for the Ministry, said the deceased was an 80-year-old woman who had been admitted to Kampala’s Mengo Hospital.  She was a resident in Kampala in Mengo, Kisenyi III.

She was first admitted to Platinum Hospital at 5 pm on 24 July 2020 and then referred to Mengo Hospital. According to officials at the Ministry of Health, she showed symptoms consistent with Covid-19 upon admission at Mengo Hospital, which included fever, cough, chest pain and breathing difficulties.

“She later passed on at 6:30 pm. The Mengo team immediately notified the Ministry of Health and Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) through the normal channel. Post mortem samples were analysed both at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and Makerere University laboratories and confirmed for SARS-COV-2,” said Dr Charles Olaro on behalf of the director-general health services. In a statement issued Sunday, Dr Olaro said the contact tracing and listing process had been initiated.

He also confirmed 12 new infections as Uganda’s cases rise to 1,115. A total of 975 people have recovered from the virus since the first case was confirmed in March 2020.

Uganda has registered its third coronavirus death, a 67-year-old male of Nigerian origin and a resident of Kisenyi in Kampala according to ministry of Health.

After presenting with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 of cough, fever, chest pain and difficulty in breathing, the deceased reportedly sought for treatment in an unnamed private clinic on an unspecified date.

Later, according to the ministry he later went to Kiruddu referral hospital but passed away on July 29. His postmortem samples tested at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) turned positive for coronavirus. According to the ministry, 15 contacts were in contact with the deceased have been listed for tracing.

So far Uganda has lost three patients to coronavirus; 34-year-old female in Namisindwa, an 80-year-old female from Kisenyi III, Mengo and now a 67-year-old male also from Kisenyi.

All deaths follow a similar pattern; they have only been identified as coronavirus positive after death, raising fears that many more people might have died from the virus without being captured by official records.

Seven more people tested positive for coronavirus from the 3,229 samples tested yesterday July 30. This raises the country’s total confirmed coronavirus cases to 1,154. So far, 272,805 total samples have been tested in Uganda with at least 1,028 recoveries. The new cases include two truck drivers who arrived from South Sudan and DR Congo, two contacts from Gulu and Namisindwa as well as 5 alerts from Mbarara (2), Amuru (2) and one (deceased) from Kampala.

In a related development, a 27-year-old male resident of Namisindwa district in eastern Uganda who collapsed and died on July 29 did not have coronavirus according to results from his postmortem samples.

Uganda on Thursday announced the country’s first fatality from the novel coronavirus. The deceased was a 34-year-old woman who died in Mbale District, eastern Uganda, according to Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director-general of health services.

“It is important and an eye-opener for the general public. Most people think that Uganda has COVID-19 that’s different from what the rest of the world is facing. We’ve now found that COVID-19 is true, harmful and kills. The community needs to obey preventive measures for public safety. Always wear a mask, wash your hands regularly or use a hand sanitizer and keep social distance,” Mwebesa said.

Uganda has recorded a total of 1,079 confirmed cases of the virus so far, with 971 recoveries. The virus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions since it first appeared in China last December, according to statistics collected by the Coronavirus Resource Center at the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Uganda now joins Botswana and Burundi in the category of countries with single deaths. Eritrea and Seychelles are the only countries that have no deaths to date.

Confirmed cases = 1,079
Active cases = 108
Recoveries = 971
Number of deaths = 1

Worldwide, more than 15.28 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with more than 624,600 deaths and over 8.7 million recoveries.

Early this month, government put travel restrictions on travelers from 16 countries worst hit by coronavirus who were ordered to be put under mandatory quarantine at their own cost for two weeks following an increase in the number of new cases registered per day and cumulative number of cases in their countries.

The affected countries included Italy, San Marino, South Korea, France, China, Germany, Spain, Belgium, USA, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Iran, Austria and Malaysia. Others were UK, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, and United States of America.

However, the government later closed all its borders and stopped any passengers coming into the country via air, water, and road.

Almost all the cases in Uganda are travellers from Dubai, UK, Afghanistan and the US and a few have got here.

The cases throughout the world for coronavirus keep on increasing every day making it more worrying.

The virus has claimed nearly 38,000 lives worldwide in a health crisis that is rapidly reorganizing political power, hammering the global economy.

Spain, whose outbreak is the world’s second-deadliest after Italy, broke another national record of 849 deaths in one day on Tuesday. READ MORE…

President Museveni of Uganda Address on Coronavirus UpdatesFollowing the struggles of preventing the viral novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease from spreading around the world, the World Health Organization released a statement that it is a Public Health Event of International Concern (pandemic). At the moment, at least 8,648 people globally have died from COVID-19, as the illness is officially known, while more than 207,000 infections have been confirmed in at least 166 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization.

Luckily enough, there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Uganda. People that had been quarantined for further investigations tested negative. This shows that Uganda is still safe from the virus.

Following the fear that had arose amongst Ugandan Nationals, the president of Uganda addressed the nation on this disease and these are details; Fortunately, after the president listening carefully scientists and watching commentators in the countries where Coronavirus is already active, he realized that COVID19 has about two characteristics that will help Ugandans to survive it and defeat its spread.

  • Characteristic number one is that it does not kill many of the people it infects. Out of the approximately 150,000 people that have been infected worldwide, only about 5,000 have died, which works out at 3%.
  • Secondly, this virus enters the body only through the soft parts of the body: the nose, the eyes, and the mouth. If protected well, people can avoid it because it is what makes it very infective. READ MORE…

Current Measures & Safety against Coronavirus-COVID-19 in Uganda

Uganda Restricts Travel of 16 CountriesFollowing the struggles of preventing the disease from spreading, on 30th January 2020, the World Health Organization announced it as a Public Health Event of International Concern. Lately, yesterday March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus a Pandemic disease. A pandemic is a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic.

It is important to state that coronavirus, although relatively new, isn’t so much different from those that emerged earlier like Influenza, SARs, cholera, Ebola, and Marburg among other viruses and respiratory infections. In fact, SARs that attacked China and other Asian countries between 2002-2003 was more aggressive. READ MORE…

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is one of the viruses which may cause infections in humans and animals. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

The Origin of Coronavirus?

Detailed investigations by medical experts found out that (SARS-CoV) was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels (Arabian camels) to humans. There are many coronaviruses circulating in animals but have not yet infected humans.

Which Corona virus is Affecting People Today?

The most recent coronavirus details that have been discovered or affected humans of late causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. COVID-19 is still affecting most people in China with a few outbreaks in other countries.

What are the signs of Coronavirus?

The most noticeable symptoms of the coronavirus infection include;-

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Cough
  • Fever &
  • Breathing difficulties

It all starts with a fever, followed by a dry cough. After a certain period of time, about a week, the victim gets breathing difficulties (shortness of breath). When you get these symptoms, you may be required to visit the hospital for treatment.

However, when you have these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have the illness that’s why you need to go for a medical checkup. These coronavirus symptoms are similar to other common viruses more so colds and flu. READ MORE…

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