Chinese National quarantined Kampala
Panic in Kampala as Chinese National quarantined at Royal Plaza building. File Photo

City traders under panic over a Chinese National quarantined at Royal Plaza building on Luwum Street, Kampala

Yesterday, Kampala City traders were seen in a panic running out to acquire protective masks after learning that a Chinese national was locked up and quarantined in one of the last floors at Royal Plaza on Luwum Street.

Responding to traders’ reactions over the matter, the Ministry of Health contacted the Chinese Embassy in Uganda to immediately register the number of expatriates entering the country.

The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng revealed that these Chinese who arrived in the country recently had not manifested any sign of COVID-19 but where implementing the travel advisory the travellers from high-risk countries, where they have to be quarantined for at least 14 days.

“So, people should not be afraid of people in quarantine, because the idea of quarantine is to keep them away from the people. If they are locked up in their room they are not doing any harm to you, they are there for purposes of observation and if they turn to develop signs and symptoms, we quickly evacuate them and isolate them,” Aceng said.

Aceng says the Ministry now has a plan of returning all Chinese under quarantine to the City Centre where they can be monitored easily.

“So, right now, we are identifying at least three places within the City where we can have them quarantined at their costs so that we can follow them comfortably for the 14 days,” Aceng said.

Dr Aceng adds that they have ordered the Chinese Embassy to reduce on the number of people coming from China to Uganda to a much manageable number.

“Because China has largely controlled the outbreak, they are assuming now it’s okay to travel but we have made it very clear that it’s not okay with Uganda because we still need to ensure that the population is protected and we don’t import in any case of COVID-19. So, in that respect we agreed that in any one time, we shall only allow in 10 Chinese Nationals and they will be quarantined within Kampala City where we can observe them much more closely,” Aceng said.

Chinese National quarantined Kampala
Panic in Kampala as Chinese National quarantined at Royal Plaza building. File Photo

Relatedly, the Busongora South legislator, Jackson Mbaju one of the seven legislators who recently returned from South Korea said it was not necessary for the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga to expel Anthony Akol, the Kilak North legislator from the Thursday Parliamentary sitting.

This was after the Akol revealed that he was not screened at Entebbe International Airport upon his return from South Korea one of the most affected countries by Coronavirus.

And Kadaga said that for the sake of the safety of other legislators, Akol should vacate Parliament to go for self-quarantine.

“We even came with some Chinese, the Chinese were isolated from us, put aside but we had come in the same plane. But we who came with the Chinese were allowed to go through; did that screening have any meaning? Did that isolation have any meaning? If they had any meaning all of us would have been quarantined with the Chinese,” Mbaju stated.

Mbaju says instead there’s need for all legislators including Kadaga to self-quarantine because ever since they arrived in the country they have interacted with MPs including the Speaker.

“I want to advise that also the Speaker should isolate herself because, from South Korea, I have had meetings with her more than three times. I have had a meeting with other members of Parliament here, and I know they have also had meetings with others. If it means that we need a recess, all of us at Parliament and we isolate ourselves,”

Reacting to Mbaju’s remarks other legislators said there’s need for an investigation into Mbaju’s remarks noting that all Parliamentary sitting needs to be suspended.

“For me, I would think even Parliamentary proceedings would be stopped because the easiest spread of Coronavirus will be in this House,” Thomas Tayebwa, Ruhindi North County said.