The Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol has been ejected from parliament and advised to self-quarantine after travelling to South Africa and South Korea, countries that have registered several cases of corona virus outbreak.
Akol gave himself away as he questioned the ministry of Health’s statement on screening of travelers for corona virus at Entebbe airport. The state minister for Health-General Duties, Robinah Nabbanja assured parliament that there is vigorous screening of all travelers entering the country at Entebbe airport, and that those from affected countries are quarantined for 14 days.However, Akol told the plenary that he wasn’t checked when he arrived at Entebbe airport unlike in other countries on his way home.
“Every time I arrive in Uganda, there is nothing like testing people who are entering Uganda. Even on the 5th of this month when I came, there is no screening at the point when you’re coming. Actually, when you’re in Nairobi at the airport, there is a screen you turn and it takes the temperature and everything. But when you come to Entebbe airport, there is nothing like that taking place of that kind. Is the minister in order to tell the House that they are doing enough to screen people coming to Uganda?” said Akol.It is at this juncture that the Kasilo County MP, Elijah Okupa wondered whether it was procedurally right to let Akol stay in the house yet he hasn’t self-quarantined for 14 days.
“Hon Akol Anthony has just told us that he just returned he returned on the 5th [March]. It is not 14 days since that time because people at the airport ask travelers to do self-isolation. Is it in order to continue to have him in the house when the mandatory 14 days have not elapsed moreover he came back from South Korea which is highly affected?” said Okupa.In her ruling, the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga ordered Akol to exit the house and self-quarantine for the mandatory 14 days.
“South Korea is one of those countries where there has been a big epidemic and Honourable Akol if you come from there please exit the chamber now. Please. Please go and do self-quarantine.” Kadaga ruled.
Akol called Kadaga’s decision misinformed and ill-advised. According to ministry of Health guidelines, all travelers including Ugandan nationals coming from high-risk countries are supposed to undergo a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine whether they have tested positive for the virus or not.
Perhaps it is this laxity at the screening points that saw a Chinese national who returned from a holiday in China be able to drive to his office in Arua in northern Uganda on Tuesday this week before he was chased away by colleagues to go and self-quarantine in a hotel.
The deputy speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah who recently returned from London said that he had concluded his self-quarantine on Thursday. The corona virus, which broke out in China in December last year, spreads through contact with an infected person.
At least 126,000 cases of corona virus and 4,600 deaths have been registered worldwide. The virus has since spread to all continents of the world prompting the World Health Organisation to declare it a global pandemic. u.r.n