21 Ugandan truck drivers test positive for COVID-19, cases rise to 248


Kampala, Uganda | URN | Another 21 truck drivers have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to results released by the Health ministry this morning. This brings the number of confirmed cases to 248.

17 out of the 21 cases were collected at the Elegu point of entry with South Sudan, three were from Mutukula border with Tanzania and one from Malaba border with Kenya.

The tests were part of 1,324 that were carried out on Sunday. Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director-general of Health Services says the delay in releasing the results was caused by a late start of testing at the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS).

“Samples from truck drivers had to be sorted appropriately and divided between the Uganda Virus Research Institute and the National Health Laboratory Services by the laboratory teams for quick turn around. Testing at NHLS begun at 7:30 pm yesterday evening hence the delay in reporting results,” Dr Mwebesa said.

Mwebesa adds that the ministry is working towards installing GeneXpert machines at points of entry in order to ensure that results are released on time. This will make sure that drivers know their COVID-19 status before they are allowed to enter the country.

NHLS is one of eight laboratories that will be testing for COVID-19 in the country. Testing at NHLS will be carried out using the Cobas 8800 which has the capacity to carry out 192 tests per hour. The laboratory yesterday received 15,000 PCR tests.

Read Also: Stopping truck drivers would be suicidal – Museveni

Of the total 248 confirmed coronavirus cases in Uganda, 188 (76 per cent) are from truck drivers consisting of 71 Kenyans, 67 Ugandans, 37 Tanzanians, 7 Eritreans, 3 Burundians, one South Sudanese, one Rwandans and one unknown.

Globally, more than 4.7 million people have been affected by the pandemic and 315,000 killed. A meeting of health officials are today holding virtual World Health Assembly to discussing how the global coordination of COVID-19 can be strengthened.

President Yoweri Museveni is set to address Ugandans on Monday 18th, May 2020 at 8pm on the status of the extension lockdown which is set to end at midnight.