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Panic as Uganda announces first case of Coronavirus, Airport closure


Mar 22, 2020

Following announcement of the first COVID19 case in Uganda by the ministry of health, several nationals have expressed worry over the next move. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), over 50 per cent of Uganda’s GDP is attributed to the informal sector and more than 80 per cent of the labour force work in the informal sector. However, following the directives by President Museveni, people are no longer allowed form big crowds, nor social gatherings as one way of controlling the spread of Coronavirus disease which has become a pandemic in the whole world.

From left; UCAA’s Eng. Ayub Sooma, WHO Country representative Yonas Tegegn and Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng while at Entebbe Airport

Several outdoor markets have been suspended, beaches and bars closed among other forms of social gathering. Willy Wasajja popularly konwn as Winner, a boda boda cyclist at Abayita Ababiri stage decries the current situation in the country, saying, most of the people manage to get what to eat, only after they work. “Therefore, a day without work will automatically translate into starving,” noted Wasajja.

Health Minister, Dr Ruth Aceng on Sunday morning said the confirmed case is a 36-year-old male resident of Kibuli, Kakungulu zone in Kampala, who had traveled to Dubai on March 17, 2020 for a business trip. He reportedly returned to Uganda on March 21, 2020 at around 2 am aboard Ethiopian airlines. “During the screening process at Entebbe Airport, his temperature was said to be at 38.7. He was evacuated to Entebbe Grade B hospital for further follow up where a nasal swab was taken for analysis. The patient is in stable condition but remains under isolation at Entebbe Grade B hospital,” Dr Aceng said in a statement released at 12am on Sunday. The confirmed case presented with high fever and poor appetite. He is not coughing neither did he have flu, according to Dr Aceng.

A medic at Entebbe Airport screening incoming travelers last week

Passenger Flights suspended

Following last week’s directives, President Yoweri Museveni issued additional precautions on Sunday during the national prayer in State house. He announced that all incoming passenger planes have been prohibited from landing at any of the airports in Uganda. “We have decided to prohibit all passenger planes. Only cargo planes will be allowed to come into and go out of Uganda. According to the president, also allowed in, are planes on account of emergency as well as all planes involved in UN relief work. The pilots of such planes will be accommodated in agreed places accepted by concerned authorities. This comes into effect on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Airport activities have since been suspended save for cargo the cargo section

To date a total of 1,827 travelers including Ugandans and others traveling back home have been identified as coming from high-risk countries for purposes of follow up. “About 827 are completing self-quarantine while about 1,000 are under quarantine,” Aceng noted.

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