Health authorities in Masaka District have quarantined seven people at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital. These reportedly entered into the country from United Arab Emirates (UAE) through Entebbe International Airport, but were never screened for COVID-19.
According to the head of the emergency department at Masaka Hospital, Dr Mark Jjuuko, those placed under quarantine are all Ugandans – three men and four women.
He said they have drawn blood samples from them and sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe to ascertain whether they have coronavirus or not .
“We expect results within 24 hours. From our interaction with them, some claim they have been doing self-isolation at home and other family members could not be at a risk,” Dr Jjuuko said on Sunday evening.
Three of the travellers reportedly entered the country on March 20, whereas two others landed in the country on March 17 and 18 respectively. Other two women reportedly entered the country on March 21 and were identified and isolated as soon as they disembarked a commuter taxi in Masaka Town.
Mr Herman Ssentongo, the Masaka Resident District Commissioner, said they picked some of the people from their homes around Masaka Town after being tipped by residents.
“One of them [travellers]was heard telling a colleague that when one pays some money, he can easily dodge the quarantine at Entebbe and come straight to the village and that is what he exactly did,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Health guidelines, all travellers mostly those from countries that have already recorded cases of COVID -19, are required to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated areas at their own costs.
Those quarantined in Entebbe hotels reportedly pay $100 (about 375,000) per day, which some have already complained that is too expensive.
A husband to one of the four quarantined women who is a resident of Nyendo, a Masaka Town suburb, said when his wife arrived from Dubai two weeks ago, she had flu and malaria and her situation worsened.
“She was first admitted to Kitovu Hospital, but I was not contented with the care being given to her, so I decided to bring her to a referral hospital here,” the husband, who preferred anonymity, said.
Masaka District Health Officer, Dr Stuart Musisi urged people to be more vigilant and avoid crowded places to fend off the deadly coronavirus.
“In the event that we already have a confirmed case of coronavirus in Uganda, our people need to be more vigilant and ensure that they wash their hands regularly,” he advised.
On Sunday morning Uganda recorded her first COVID-19 case. Health Minister, Dr Ruth Aceng said the confirmed case is a 36-year-old male resident of Kibuli, Kakungulu zone in Kampala, who had travelled to Dubai on March 17, 2020 for a business trip.
He reportedly returned to Uganda on March 21, 2020 at around 2am aboard Ethiopian Airlines.
During the screening process at Entebbe International Airport, his temperature was said to be at 38.7.
The raging coronavirus pandemic whose death toll has already crossed 13,0000, has forced lockdowns in several countries across the globe, disrupting lives, travel and businesses as governments scramble to shut borders and unleash hundreds of billions in emergency measures to avoid a widespread virus-fuelled economic meltdown. By Sunday about 827 people in Uganda were about to complete self-quarantine while about 1,000 are still under quarantine.