KAMPALA, 24th April 2020: Uganda’s covid19 cases continue to rise steadily. All these cases are imported ones, and the government seems to lack a mechanism to control the cases. Being a landlocked country, Uganda’s imports come via Kenya and Tanzania ports.
According to Uganda’s Ministry of Health Press Release, “The cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Uganda is 74. Six (6) Tanzanian truck drivers who arrived via the Mutulkula border post and Five (5) Kenyan truck drivers (Three (3) arrived via Malaba and Two (2) arrived via Busia). The cumulative number of recovered patients is forty-six (46) out of the 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) in Uganda.
The Cumulative number of foreign truck drivers who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Uganda is now nineteen (19) i.e. Nine (9) Tanzanian and 10 Kenyan nationals.”
With the imported cases increasing, no one knows when the lockdown shall be lifted. As Ugandans remain indoors, Tanzanians who were not locked down are now the key drivers of the cases into Uganda. This is bad. The Ministry of Health is yet to communicate the measures being put in place to control the imported cases by Truck drivers since imports must come in for the country to continue receiving essential supplies.
We do not know yet the government’s plans and the conditions that must be true for the lockdown and curfew to be lifted. We are just waiting. Without a vaccine or cure, it is difficult to open the country since one case could become catastrophic.
Immediate measures to address the risk of Truck drivers bringing the virus are overdue. This is going to be tough to manage. Do you suspend the Trucks into the country temporarily until the situation normalizes? Do you hold the drivers at the border, and have your drivers dressed in protective gear to complete the journey from the boarders to the delivery points of the cargo, or you just monitor the drivers along the way to avoid mixing with the local populations.
We all know that Truck drivers have several stopovers along their routes and have been the biggest fuel of the HIV/Pandemic. One infected Truck driver could spread the virus to over 20 sexual partners in just a month! That is how dangerous some drivers can be. Now imagine coronavirus which does not need private close contact with the victims. It would become deadly.
The government has so far managed to control the internal spread of the virus. This is commendable. We have all the trust in government to manage this new problem and it all shall come to pass.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.