A section of Members of Parliament have questioned why government continues to maintain an open travel policy amid the Coronavirus.
As of 28th February 2020, the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus globally was at 89,000 of which over 79,000 are in mainland China where the disease first broke out in December 2019. The disease has spread to 66 countries including Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria in Africa and recently Tunisia and Senegal.
To date, the number of deaths from Coronavirus has gone to 3,043 and the World Health Organization (WHO) risk classification has been upgraded to ‘Very High’ for China, regional level and global level.
On Tuesday, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the Minister of State for Health in charge of Primary Health Care presented a statement on the floor of parliament on the preventive measures to be taken by the public.
“We need to appreciate that the Current COVID-19 is knocking at every country’s door and this requires vigilance and alertness from all Uganda. I advise all Ugandans to remain vigilant and alert, avoid rumours and fears,” said Dr, Moriku in part.
She recommended regular cleaning of hands with a sanitizer or with water and soap, covering mouth and nose with tissue or a handkerchief when coughing and sneezing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hand among others.
Moriku also said that the public should avoid hand-shaking and hugging at all times, avoid close contact with people who are visibly sick with flu-like symptoms, delayed travel to countries that currently have many patients with coronavirus disease and that if they must travel, they should follow protective measures.
However, Mitooma Woman MP Jovah Kamateeka questioned why government was maintaining an open travel policy by allowing people from highly affected areas to enter the country as well as Ugandans travelling to affected countries.
Katakwi Woman MP Violet Akurut Adome said Uganda needs to be very preventive. She demanded a travel ban saying that it would be difficult for Uganda to manage an outbreak since even developed countries with enough human resource and research are puzzled with the virus.
Maracha East MP Denise Oguzu weighed in quoting a report by WHO that named Uganda as one of the countries that are not prepared to handle the coronavirus outbreak.
Pallisa Woman MP, Agnes Amede also wondered why Uganda continues to allow travels from affected countries entry especially people from the mainland China.
Isingiro South MP Alex Byarugaba said that government should also pay attention to preventive measures at all small entry points to the country since people travel by bus in and out of the country besides using planes.
Meanwhile, Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa questioned the government plan to provide preventive measures in both boarding and day schools.
For Kilak South MP Gilbert Oulanya, the election process that requires large gatherings should be halted to avoid an outbreak.
Dr Moriku told MPs that the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda had set up a select committee in Cabinet concerning the coronavirus outbreak and that he would give any update regarding travels in and out of the country and other decisions.
She also revealed that Cabinet had directed the Ministry of Education to issue preventive measures to all schools especially providing handwashing points for students.