Uganda restricts travelers from six more countries to prevent importation of Novel Coronavirus
The Ministry of Health has announced that six countries that were previously in category two, have moved to category one. According to the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the decision was reached at due to the increase in the number of new cases per day, and cumulative number of cases in the country. This increases the number of restricted countries to sixteen.
This according to Hon. Dr. Aceng means that travelers will be subjected to self-quarantine for 14 days at their own cost, even if they do not exhibit signs and symptoms of the virus on arrival. The affected countries include Italy, San Marino, South Africa, France, China, Germany, Spain, Belgium, USA, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Iran, Austria and Malaysia.
She noted that even though Uganda has no confirmed case of COVID -19, it still stands a high risk of importing the virus due to the high number of travelers into the country from the most affected countries. She said that 1,632 travelers that had entered the country have been identified as high-risk and identified for purposes of follow up. “Of these, 1,071 are Chinese, 244 are Ugandans, 43 are Italians, 34 from South Korea and 484 are other nationals. A total of 986 travelers are under self-quarantine, of which 606 have completed the mandatory 14 days of self- quarantine,” she said.
In support of the decision of the ministry on behalf of tAhe government was the World Health Organization (WHO) country representative Mr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, who noted that over 95 countries across the globe have put travel restrictions on travelers from affected countries to protect their population. He said that WHO gives allows countries to put such restrictions under specific conditions, which almost all of them apply to Uganda.
The Minister also noted that the Ministry of Health is working with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to consider spraying all travelers as they disembark from the aircraft with a disinfectant.
Mr. Atek Kagirita, the Coronavirus Incident Commander at the Ministry of Health, assured the general public that the disinfectant is approved by WHO, and is being used worldwide with no side effects. “We are using all possible prevention measures to keep this disease away; this is the best option for Ugandan.” Mr. Kagirita said.
According to the Minister, World Health Organization (WHO) reported 61 countries that have local transmission of COVID -19 while 6 countries are under investigation. As of 10th March 2020, globally, 113,702 cases were confirmed cases with over 4,000 deaths. In Africa, 11 countries that have reported cases of COVID - 19 are Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Togo, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Minister advised the public to report any suspected case to the nearest health facility or call the Ministry’s toll free lines on 0800-203-033 and 0800-100-066 or the following officers – Mr. Atek Kagirita 0782909153, Dr. Allan Muruta-0772460297.