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By Otim Nape

Uganda has confirmed five new cases of the deadly Covid-19 disease in just four days since the first patient was declared at the weekend, the Health Ministry has announced.

Speaking at UBC in Kampala on Wednesday, Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director of Health Services, said the new cases had been linked to travel to Germany, China, Kenya and the Uganda-South Sudan Elegu Border Point.

“As of today, March 25, 2020, there are five new confirmed cases for Covid-19, bringing the total number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the country to 14,” said Dr Mwebesa.

According to Dr Mwebesa, the first new case is a 63-year-old male, a resident of Najjanankumbi in Kampala, who recently returned from Germany, and had presented high fever, cough, and sore throat during quarantine, while the second is a 57-year-old Adjumani salt trader who had no travel history or contact outside Uganda. Currently admitted at Adjumani General Hospital, the businessman was known to do his trade at the Elegu Border Point.

The third was an eight-month old baby whose father had returned from Kisumu in Kenya. The baby is currently isolated at Iganga Hospital, while the others are two of the six Chinese who had returned from two cities in China but had attempted to skip isolation by fleeing to DR Congo via Zombo.

“All the previous cases are in Entebbe Hospital improving,” said Dr Mwebesa, adding that 1,230 are under follow-up, 764 are under institutional quarantine, 466 under self-quarantine, while 1,431 high risk travellers have completed their 14 days of follow-up.

He also updated Ugandans on efforts to screen and quarantine travellers who made contact with the first case, as well as those who were in Dubai, UAE in the past fortnight.

“Following our appeal to all individuals who travelled from Dubai in the past two weeks, a total of 574 individuals have been listed countrywide,” he said. “We have so far screened 60 travellers at Mulago National Specialized Hospital.  We further direct all persons who travelled from Dubai in the past 2 weeks to come to Ward 2A at Mulago National Specialized Hospital (New Mulago) for assessment.”

He also revealed that more call center assistants have been hired to help Ugandans report suspected Covid19 cases.

“Following the declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have increased the capacity of our call center to handle more calls at the same time effective today. Call center agents have been increased from 20 to 100 and will continue to work in shifts for 24 hours daily.”

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