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COVID-19: QUARANTINED RWANDAN BISHOP TRANSFERRED TO KAMPALA

By Otim Nape

Uganda’s Health Ministry has recommended the transfer of Archbishop Innocentious Byakatonda, the head of the Orthodox Church in Rwanda and Burundi, from Kabale in southwestern Uganda to the capital Kampala, Kigezi Police Spokesperson Elly Maate has said.

Archbishop Byakatonda was one of the 95 travellers from Rwanda who recently entered Uganda aboard two Jaguar Company buses, and were quarantined at Kirigime Guest House in Kabale Municipality as a preventive measure against the deadly Coronavirus disease for which Uganda has confirmed 14 cases, and is following up on over 2,000 other travellers.

But even before Byakatonda could finish the first half of the two-week isolation and monitoring period, Orthodox Archbishop of Uganda Metropolitan Yonah Lwanga had asked the Ministry to transfer the cleric from institutional quarantine.

In his request to the Ministry, Metropolitan Lwanga cited Byakatonda’s health conditions, including the fact that he is a hypertension and diabetes patient. The servant of God is expected to continue his quarantine in Kampala.

Rwanda, Uganda’s south-western neighbour, from where Byakatonda and over 90 others crossed to Kabale, has about 40 cases of Covid19. Other neighbours with cases are Kenya, DR Congo and Tanzania.

At the weekend, President Yoweri Museveni closed borders, and banned all passenger air travel on top of measures announced mid last week that included closure of education institutions and suspension of public gatherings such as church services, weddings and political rallies.

News of Byakatonda’s transfer to the capital started trickling in hours before Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director of Health Services in the Health Ministry, confirmed five new cases of the respiratory disease. An eight-month-old baby and two Chinese are among the new cases, which have seen Uganda’s infection toll rise to 14 in a space of four days since the disease was first declared in the country. (See: CORONAVIRUS: 8-MONTH-OLD BABY, CHINESE AMONG FIVE NEW CONFIRMED CASES).

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