Update on Uganda’s enhanced measures to prevent importation of Novel Coronavirus Disease COVID-19
Written by PK
The Ministry of Health would like to update the general public on the progress of country's enhanced measures to prevent the importation of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) into the country.
On December 31st 2019, The People's Republic of China notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an outbreak of a Pneumonia-causing illness that was later confirmed to be due to the novel corona virus (COVID 19) .
On 30 th January 2020, WHO declared this outbreak as a Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC).
This outbreak has now spread to all continents and over 92 countries and 9 territories and areas are currently affect ed . Out of the 92 countries, WHO reports that over 30 have local transmission of COVID-19, including sustained community transmission.
According to WHO, local transmission indicates locations where the source of infection is within the reporting location
Current Global Situation
As of 7th March 2020, more than 101,828 confirmed cases have been reported globally, with over 3,483 deaths.
In Africa, eight countries have reported cases of COVID19. These are; Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Tunisia, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon and Togo. The possibility of spread to other African countries, Uganda inclusive is extremely high. Although Uganda has no cases of COVID-19, the risk of importation remains high.
Uganda's Current Situation
Uganda has no confirmed case of COVID-19 as of 07th March 2020. However, to date a total of 1,296 travelers, Chinese, Ugandans and others travelling back home have been identified as high-risk and identified for purposes of follow up. A total of 765 travellers are under self-quarantine, of which 456 have completed the mandatory 14 days of self- isolation.
So far, samples from 20 persons who presented with signs and symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 have been tested. All tested negative.
Uganda remains at high risk of importation of COVID-19 from the affected countries. This is mainly due to travel, trade, and social linkages with the affected countries as Uganda maintains an open-border policy.
In order to reduce the risk of importation of the COVID-19, the Ministry of Health is undertaking the following measures;
- Screening of all passengers entering through Entebbe International Airport and other border points of entry which include; Busia, Malaba, Cyanika and
- All travelers 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.
- Number of total (cumulative) cases: The higher the number of cumulative cases, the higher the chances of exportation of COVID-19 cases.
- Number of cases in the last 24 hours: This is a measure of active transmission of COVID-19 in the
- 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 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.
People residing in the following 7 countries (Italy, Iran, South Kore a, France, China, Germany, and Spain) should consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda. Any traveler 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 CPVID-19.
Additionally, individuals highlighted in c tegory 1 who insist on visiting Uganda will be subjected to self-quarantine or institutional (health facility) quarantine at their own cost.
For the following countries (UK, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, India, and USA), the Ministry of Health will observe the travelers very closely and the evolution of the outbreak in these countries and advise on any restrictions in the coming weeks.
The rest of the countries will undergo the routine screening upon arrival and be advised accordingly on the measures to undertake 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.
Advisory on postponement of International Meetings and conferences
The Ministry of Health would also like to inform the general public that all international conferences slated to take place in Uganda have temporarily been postponed due to the looming threat of COVIDl 9.
This decision was reached following extensive consultations with key experts from the Ministry of Health- Uganda, WHO and US CDC coupled with lat es t available evidence.
The experts assessed the risk of global meetings on the impo rtatio n and spread of COVID-19 in Uganda as very high due to the following reasons:
- This being a new virus, there is no immunity in the population so majority of the people are
- The international events will bring people from ma ny of the already
- It is challenging, if not impossible, to avoid crowding and congestion during such large
Additionally, the United Nations has postponed number of planned international events.
Given the above evidence, the Ministry of Health thus recommends that International meetings and conferences in Uganda should be postponed to a later date subject to the COVID-19 evolution and risk assessment.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Health has developed guidelines for mass gatherings that the public should adhere to.
The Ministry of He a lt h defines mass Gatherings as concentration of people at a specific location for a specific purpose over a set period of time. There is ample evidence that mass gatherings can incr ease the risk of transmission of infectious diseases such as Coronavirus (COVID 19).
- Sporting events e.g. football matches, betting
- Religious events e.g. Prayer congregations, crusades, pilgrima ges etc
- Social/Cultural events e.g. funerals, weddings
- Political events e.g. rallies, campaigns, national events
All organizers of mass gatherings MUST make adequate preparations before hosting an event to protect the participants from contracting COVID-19 as stipulated below.
- The organizers should designate a competent person to liaise with the Health authorities for advice during the organization of
- Ensure provision of adequate hand washing facilities with soap and water or alcohol-based hand
- People with flu-like symptoms and who are unwell should stay at home in well-ventilated room and should NOT BE ALLOWED to access premises of the
- Organizers should plan for cleaning and disinfecting frequently used communal places (like bathroom and toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, car doors and elevator buttons with disinfectant or
- Organizers should provide adequate waste management facilities (dustbins, cans, bin-liners and single use tissues) and properly protected/trained waste
- Provide information on prevention of COVID-19 to participants
The following Mandatory facilities must be in place at all Mass Gathering sites
- Toilets/latrines: 1 stance for every 20 participants
- Hand washing facilities: Running water and soap
- Waste management facilities
- Adequate ventilation with proper air circulation
- At least 05 Infrared thermometers for temperature screening
- Health desk with Health workers to monitor the health safety standards. Follow the guidance of health care workers at all
- Access to evacuation facilities for sick participants like ambulances
- First Aid kits
The Ministry of Health continues to emphasize the following preventive measures;
- AVOID HAND-SHAKING AND HUGGING AT ALL
- Avoid close contact with people who are visibly sick with flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sneeze).
- When sick with flu-like symptoms avoid going to public places, offices and public Remain at home to avoid infecting othe rs.
- You do not need to wear medical masks if you do not have respiratory symptoms such as cough, sneezing or running
- Don't take self-medication such as
- Do NOT spit in public. Find a secluded place like toilets or pit latrines in which to spit .
- Delay travel to countries that currently have many patients with COVID-19. If you MUST travel, please follow the protective
- Avoid travel if you have flu-like sym ptoms.
The Ministry of Health would like to caution the general public from spreading false rumors and misinformation. Always verify information from the Ministry to avoid spreading false rumors which may cause unnecessary anxiety.
The public is also advised to report any suspected cases to the nearest health facility or call our toll-free lines on 0800-203-033 and 0800-100-066 or the following officers - Mr. Atek Kagirita 0782 909 153, Dr. Allan Muruta- 0772 460 297.
Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng
MINISTER FOR HEALTH
0 7 th March, 2020
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By Monitor Reporter
The death toll in the fresh landslides that hit Bududa District on Tuesday has risen from three to five people.
Bududa District chairman, Mr Wilson Watira said residents in the affected areas are stranded with no food and shelter.
He asked the Office of the Prime Minister and other relief agencies to intervene and deliver relief to the area.
Mr Watira advised the displaced people to seek sanctuary in churches, schools and other public facilities as they wait for help.
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From Daily Monitor
By MARTIN LUTHER OKETCH
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The State of the Nation address will be followed by the reading of the National Budget for the fiscal year 2019/20 on Thursday next week at the same venue.
President Museveni is likely to be disappointed with economic growth for the 2018/19 fiscal year, which registered a slight slowdown, based on the preliminary figures which were released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) on Friday last week.
The economic growth 2018/19 is 0.1 percentage points lower than last year’s growth, from 6.2 percent in the fiscal year 2017/2018 to 6.1 percent.
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From Daily Monitor
By SADAT MBOGO
MPIGI- At least two people died on Tuesday and more than 20 were injured in an accident at Kayabwe town in Mpigi District, on the Kampala-Masaka Highway.
The accident occurred at about 8:30 am when a bus belonging to Global Bus Company that was travelling to Kampala, collided head-on with a tipper lorry that was headed to Lwera wetland to ferry sand.
Mr Joseph Tulya, the acting police spokesman for Katonga Region blamed the accident on reckless driving and fog.
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He said one person suspected to be the lorry turn man died on spot.
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