Uganda remains on high alert with enhanced surveillance as Nigeria becomes the third African country to confirm a coronavirus case.
The deadly coronavirus that started in Wuhan province of China in late December last year has until now spread to more than 25 countries worldwide with over 83,000 confirmed cases and 2,800 deaths registered both in mainland China and elsewhere.
While addressing the press at the Uganda Media Center on Friday morning, Minister of Health Ruth Aceng said that Uganda is on high alert and has enhanced surveillance measures for all travelers from the COVID-19 affected countries.
The minister however re-affirmed that there are no confirmed virus cases in Uganda at the moment. However, 695 travelers including Chinese nationals and Ugandans who were travelling back home have been isolated in different places and being monitored.
” Uganda has no confirmed case of COVID-19 as of 28th February 2020. However, to date 695 travelers, Chinese, Ugandans and others travelling back home have been isolated for purposes of follow up,” the Minister said.
” Of these 488 are Chinese nationals, 64 other nationals while 143 are Ugandan citizens. 280 individuals have completed 14 days of self-isolation.”
Aceng said that Uganda Virus Institute has the necessary equipment and all reagents to test and confirm any suspected COVID-19 sample in the country.
“So far samples from 10 persons who presented with signs & symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 have been tested. All tested negative.”
Aceng said that screening at Entebbe International Airport and other points of entry like Malaba, Busia, Eregu and Cyanika have been strengthened with deployment of additional health workers, equipment and infection prevention materials.
Aceng urged the public to maintain personal precautionary measures such as proper hygiene, covering the mouth while sneezing and coughing, avoid contact, hugs and handshakes with people who have flu-like symptoms.
AFRICA REGISTERS THIRD VIRUS CASE
The Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria confirmed a coronavirus case in Lagos state on Thursday February 27,2020 which was the first in Nigeria and third in Africa since the up serge.
According to Nigeria’s Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire, the case in Nigeria is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and had returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos on the 25th of February 2020.
“He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” The Minister said.
He however said that Nigeria has been beefing up on preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China and they will use all the resources made available by the Nigerian government to respond to this case.
The World Health Organization (WHO) early this month had said that Africa’s “fragile health systems” also meant the threat posed by the virus “is considerable”.
Egypt recorded the first case of the virus in Africa when their Ministry of Health announced on February 14, 2020.
Algeria became second when they declared it had a case on Tuesday, an Italian adult who arrived in the country on 17 February.
WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti warned that the “window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for coronavirus disease is closing.”