The Ministry of Health has said it is monitoring the global trends of a new strain of Covid-19 that is spreading fast in the United Kingdom and other countries.
Addressing the media in Kampala yesterday, the Minister of State for Health in charge of Primary Healthcare, Joyce Moriku Kaducu said the increasing number of patients presenting with severe and critical disease is exerting more pressure on the already limping health sector.
“We are closely following the global trends of a new variant strain (501. V2) of SARS CoV-2 that has been reported in the UK, other parts of Europe and now South Africa and Nigeria,”she said.
She said the ministry is closely working with regional partners through the Uganda Virus Research Institute and will start genome surveillance for the new strain to determine it’s prevalence in the country.
Kaducu said it is important to note that this new variant strain has not yet been reported in Uganda so far.
“We know that the new variant strain is spreading faster than what we experienced in the first wave. Currently, Kampala remains the hotspot of new Covid-19 infections followed by Kabarole, Kasese, Lwengo, Kabale, Mbarara, Masaka and Lyantonde,”she said.
Currently, she said, Uganda is registering a weekly average of 3,600 new cases emerging from 85 districts. This has significantly increased from a month ago when the country was reporting 1,900 cases weekly.
She said the increasing number of patients presenting with severe and critical disease across the country, has raised new challenges and stretched the health system.
“Government continues to expand ICU and HDU bed capacity as part of its plan to meet the increasing demand.To date, we have registered 1,689 confirmed cases amongst health workers and 15 have succumbed to the disease,”she said.
Dr. Henry Mwebesa,the Director General Health Services said 80% of the patients are asymptomatic.
“For our home care, we have been recommending Vitamin C, Zinc, azythromycin and urge them to eat fruits, drink a lot and exercise regularly. We encourage the asymptomatic to stay at home even if you’re strong and energetic,”he advised.