The government announced on Friday that Uganda would be under a total lockdown for the next 42 days as part of its strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19.
On Friday, President Museveni announced a total lockdown in Uganda for the next 42 days as part of the government’s strategy to contain the spread of COVID-19.
While giving an update about the COVID-19 situation in the country on Friday, Museveni said the country has in recent weeks has seen a more aggressive and sustained growth of the COVID-19 pandemic as opposed to the earlier months of April and May 2021 which called for stringent measures including the lockdown.
He said over the past three weeks, the daily number of people testing positive for the virus has tremendously increased from less than 100 to now over 1,700.
This represents a 17 fold increase in daily cases.
Going further, the president indicated that the proportion of people testing positive from samples tested (Positivity Rate) has remained as high as 17%. He said if Uganda is to be in a position to contain the virus then the percentage has to be less than 5%.
“As a result our epidemic curve is now on steep rise with increased reports of deaths nationwide. There is also what scientists call doubling time. This is the time it takes for the number of cases detected to double. The shorter this time is, the more intense the virus is spreading in the community,” Museveni noted.
“This time has dropped from 68 to 31 days in just one week. This means that if no major shift in the response is done, the pandemic intensity will double in one month; We are experiencing very high hospitalization rates and deaths for COVID-19 patients among all age categories.”
In addition, he revealed that in the past three weeks, only about 61 districts had a significant spread of the virus but as of 16th June, 108 districts are suffocating with infections.
“Given the nature of this virus, the moment you detect one case, then it is a matter of time until the infections expand and the number increases. We have noted a number of danger signals in the trend of the pandemic. These help to alert us to how we are doing,” Museveni said.
“The rapid surge in the intensity of the pandemic appears unprecedented, but still manageable using the similar measures we have used since last year at the beginning of the pandemic and in all our previous revolutionary endeavors in the past more than 50 years.”
Furthermore, he said the surge has partly overwhelmed hospitals. He said before, one doctor could attend to only a few patients which is not the case today. Relatively, he said because of the rapid infections, this has also double strained the available oxygen supply.
Museveni disclosed that an average non-COVID-19 critical patient consumes one to two oxygen cylinders per day, however, a severely ill COVID-19 needs four to six cylinders per day.
He explained that the current national daily oxygen consumption stands at 3,000 cylinders per day, where each cylinder is 6,800 litres.
“With the estimated COVID-19 patient increase in the coming weeks, the daily oxygen consumption will rise to 25,800 cylinders per day in one month, unless we change the course. This is nearly a 9 -fold increase in the overall national oxygen requirement,” he added.
“The current overall national oxygen production (oxygen plants linked to our national and regional referral hospitals), including the private sector is 3,005 cylinders against daily consumption that stands at 3,000 cylinders. The current oxygen challenge we are facing is the availability of empty cylinders for distribution. Of course if cases keep expanding, it can also outstrip our production capacity.”