Uganda’s coronavirus cases curbed, but imported cases rise

Taking the temperature of drivers and passengers in Nakuru, Kenya, to detect those with coronavirus symptoms. COURTESY PHOTO/Suleiman Mbatiah/AFP.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Uganda’s COVID-19 cases have risen to 83 after two Kenyan truck drivers tested positive for coronavirus disease on Thursday 30th, April 2020.

Uganda has recently reported no new domestic coronavirus infections, most of the latest cases detected are imported from abroad.

The two males, aged 27 and 55 arrived in Uganda via Malaba and Busia border points respectively. According to ministry of Health, all 492 community samples tested negative.

In total, 2,071 samples were tested on Thursday 30th at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) while the number of recoveries still stands at 52. Of Uganda’s cases, 23 cases have been registered from truck drivers.

President Yoweri Museveni recently ruled out locking out truck drivers – saying trade in the region needs to continue functioning even amid the coronavirus pandemic that has paralysed the entire globe.

On Thursday 30th, Health Ministers and officials from Kenya and Uganda agreed on a new protocol that would ease the clearance of truck drivers at entry points. All Kenyan truck drivers will now be tested from departure points in Mombasa according to Kenya’s Health ministry.

Most of East Africa’s cargo passes through the Mombasa port. East African Community (EAC) MPs were unhappy that health officials from other East African countries did not participate in Thursday’s virtual meeting that aimed at forging a common EAC protocol to control further spread of the virus in the region.

Kahinda Otafiire, Uganda’s minister of East African Affairs, said Uganda is ready to help Tanzania on how to manage the pandemic if it seeks for help. Tanzania is EAC’s most infected region but with the most relaxed lockdown. Otafiire said Uganda is also ready to learn from other EAC member states on how to manage the virus.

On Thursday 30th, Rwanda’s coronavirus cases rose to 243 after 18 new cases and 6 new recoveries were registered. A total of 1,140 samples were tested. Rwanda blames the “rise on cross-border truck drivers.” No details of the cases were given, but an estimated 400-500 trucks cross from Tanzania daily.

Tanzania coronavirus cases still stand at 480, Kenya registered 12 new cases taking its national tally to 396. DR Congo cases hit the 500 mark after 9 new cases and one death were recorded on Thursday.

Sudan registered 67 new cases and 3 new deaths. In Somalia, there were 19 new cases while Senegal recorded 51 new cases. Djibouti registered 12 new cases, Ivory Coast 37 new cases.

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In Guinea there 144 new cases. Ghana recorded a whooping 403 new cases and one death. In Algeria, there were 158 new cases and 6 new deaths. South Africa and Egypt, Africa’s most infected countries at 5,647 and 5,537 recorded 297 and 269 new cases respectively. Egypt also registered 12 new deaths.

USA recorded 2,110 new deaths to take its total coronavirus deaths to 63,765. There were also 28462 new cases. There were 674 new deaths and 6032 in the UK as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that UK’s peak is now over. Brazil recorded 390 new deaths and 6,019 new cases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Uganda against the early loosening of the lockdown, advising that this should be done gradually with essential factories allowed to operate back at full capacity.

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr Diana Atwine in an interview with NBS TV indicated that lifting of a lockdown may be around the corner but people might be required to wear face masks while in public.