Four foreigners isolated at Entebbe over COVID-19

KAMPALA – The Ministry of Health has announced that four foreigners are being isolated at Entebbe Hospital after presenting symptoms of flu and cough.   A statement by health ministry senior communications officer Emma Ainebyoona last night said: “They were picked up from Entebbe International Airport after presenting with flu and cough symptoms by our surveillance teams.”   “Samples have been collected and are being tested at UVRI,” he added.   The ministry urged the public to remain calm and follow the provided preventive measures.   “There is no confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country,” Ainebyoona added.

UGANDANS CAUTIONED   On Saturday, this paper reported that Ugandans had been advised to avoid shaking hands and hugging at all times, to guard against the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the global death toll goes beyond 2,800 with 82,000 cases confirmed.  

This was contained in the wide ranging guidelines issued by the health ministry.    Ugandans have also been advised to avoid close contact with people who are visibly sick with flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sneezing).  

“When sick with flu-like symptoms, avoid going to public places, offices and public gatherings.   Remain at home in isolation to avoid infecting others,” health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said.   The epicentre of the virus is Wuhan, Hubei province in China, where majority of the deaths and infections have occurred.   Aceng cautioned against self-medication by use of antibiotics in case of any symptom related to COVID-19.  

“You do not need to wear medical masks if you do not have respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sneezing or running nose,” Aceng said.   Others measures include avoiding spitting in the public and, to always find a secluded place, such as toilets or pit-latrines in which to spit in, delay travel to countries that currently have many patients with COVID-19.   “If you must travel, the protective measures must be adhered to,” she said.  

Aceng added that Uganda had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday and that 10 people who had signs of the disease tested negative. In Africa, Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria have already reported cases.   The minister said it is pertinent that the population remains on high alert and diligently exercise preventive measures, to avoid contracting the disease.  

A total of 695 travellers, including Chinese and Ugandans travelling to Uganda have been isolated for purposes of follow up, the minister said.   Of these, 488 are Chinese nationals, while 143 are Ugandans.   A total of 280 individuals have completed 14 days of self-isolation.

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