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By Otim Nape

Uganda’s Health Ministry has spoken out on social media reports that its enthusiastic Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng is being isolated after she tested positive for the deadly Covid-19 disease that has infected about 440,000 and killed close to 20,000 worldwide.

Speculation was rife Wednesday after it emerged that neither Dr Aceng and her junior ministers Dr Joyce Moriku (Primary Health Care) and Robinah Nabbanja (General Duties), nor Dr Diana Atwine, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS), would step foot at the State broadcaster UBC grounds for Wednesday’s Coronavirus update.

Some social media rumour- and fake news- mongers had even claimed that reliable sources had told them Aceng was battling Covid-19 after she tested positive for the disease, and wouldn’t turn up to brief Ugandans as has been the habit since the first case was confirmed Saturday night.

Indeed it was Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services, who addressed the nation on behalf of the ministry, confirming five new cases of the viral respiratory disease. (See: CORONAVIRUS: 8-MONTH-OLD BABY, CHINESE AMONG FIVE NEW CONFIRMED CASES).

But the Ministry has dismissed the reports making rounds on social media as “rumors,” adding that the Minister was yet to catch the virus.

“Kindly desist from spreading rumors. The Honorable Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, is perfectly fine and does NOT have Covid19 as alleged; neither does she have signs and symptoms similar to COVID-19,” read a Health Ministry reply to a tweet claiming Aceng had been diagnosed with Coronavirus. “Please ALWAYS endeavour to verify from the Ministry of Health.”

Even before Uganda’s first confirmed case, Aceng and Dr Atwine were already working tirelessly, leading the Ministry on the frontline in the fight against the disease that has since led to a global shutdown.

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