COVID-19 cases in Uganda rise to 75 as East African countries sit to come up with tighter measures on truck drivers
Uganda confirmed one more new coronavirus case on Friday 24 April 24, 2020, raising the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 75.
According to the Ministry of Health, the new case was from the 1,533 samples tested on Friday at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).
Director General Health Services, Dr Henry Mwebesa says the new case is a Ugandan truck driver who arrived back in the country from Kenya via Malaba border point, aged 43.
Dr Mwebesa says out of the total samples tested on Friday 1,116 were truck drivers at the border points, while 417 were contacts in the community.
He adds that the case did not present signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Earlier, President Museveni while flagging off a fleet of vehicles donated by well-wishers towards COVID-19 response to designated districts, he promised Ugandans that the case of truck drivers will be settled.
With many Ugandans calling for a complete shutdown of truck business to halt COVID-19 spread, Museveni says the country cannot afford to shut down the truck business because the country needs goods from outside and export as well.
However, he says the East African Heads of State and the Health Ministers in the region are drawing tighter measures to handle the matter.
“We have a problem, we need the cargo, and we need the goods. Our goods to come in but also our goods to go out, our coffee must go, but at the same time, we don’t want the disease. So, therefore, there’s this idea of testing before the driver comes, and he waits until the result before they proceed. We need the goods to come in, but at the same time we don’t want the disease,” Museveni said.
The president adds that talks are ongoing with regional leaders and health teams to come up with new measures to tackle the issue of truck drivers because they have failed to observe the existing guidelines.
“The East African Health Ministers are talking about how to coordinate. We need to solve this problem of land borders, trucks and their drivers,” Museveni said.
“Of course these drivers they have been coming so they have their friends along the way, but we were thinking that because of the danger, their friends will say please “tonkwatako” let the virus first go away, but now it seems that one is not working, it seems people have not been observing that. Otherwise, it could have worked, the other alternative which I told the minister also to mention to the other ministers was to change crews, they don’t need a turn-boy that what some of these transporters are saying,” he added.
President then commended Ugandans for being obedient to the set guidelines saying Ugandan scientists are working hard to develop coronavirus vaccine.
“I am very glad about the response of the Ugandans. I have been discussing with our scientists and they are sure a vaccine can be developed.”
President Museveni made the remarks while flagging off a fleet of 45 cars donated to the COVID-19 National Task Force. Speaking, the President warned government officials against misusing COVID-19 response vehicles.
“We shall build up the fleet; we want to build it up to 1,350 vehicles so that each district gets at least 10. They will be used in this crisis and when the crisis is over they will be withdrawn and kept somewhere, I will not allow them to be misused by officials to just driving around going no.”