Ugandans should not celebrate yet for having a few active COVID-19 cases, as the pandemic is not close to being over. The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Monday night, that while the world wants all this to be over, it will be a long haul.
“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is: this is not even close to being over, and we’re all in this for the long haul,” Dr Tedros said.
He was speaking on the eve of the grim milestone, and called for renewed global commitment to save lives as cases surpass 10 million worldwide, with 500,000 deaths. He warned that globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.
With only one Ugandan case left at Entebbe Grade B hospital and a few in other hospitals across the country, the Ministry of Health says the country had by Monday 29th June 2020 confirmed a total of 870 COVID-19 cases.
Of these, 808 have been discharged, while 62 cases are still active in hospitals across the country.
However, the health ministry says there are a total of 190 active COVID-19 patients receiving care at eight hospitals in the country. These include 128 foreign nationals being treated from Mulago National Referral Hospital, Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Masaka, Mbarara and Kabale Regional Referral hospitals. The extra active cases that were initially not added to the national tally, are truck drivers who opted to seek treatment in Uganda, as opposed to going back to their countries.
According to Dr Henry Mwebesa the Director-General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, the additional cases receiving treatment are from Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.
"When we report cases, we only record those of nationals. But there are a number of non-nationals like truck drivers and refugees who are receiving treatment for COVID-19. The foreigners were admitted into care as we prepared for their repatriation but once settled, they chose to complete their treatment in the country," Dr Mwebesa explained.
He added that this was done even after President Yoweri Museveni directed health and port officials not to allow foreign nationals who test positive to enter into the country. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health Minister argues that some neighboring countries need help treating positive cases.
Currently, there is still no vaccine for the COVID-19 virus and people are advised to practice social distance, wearing face masks at every point they are in public, and washing hands with soap and water, as well as using sanitizers.