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Museveni bans tourists over Coronavirus
President Museveni bans foreign tourists over Coronavirus. File Photo

Coronavirus: President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni bans foreign tourists in Uganda

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has asked foreign tourists to stay away from Uganda for now because of the rising cases of COVID-19 also known as Coronavirus to prevent it’s transmission to Uganda.

“There’s no short cut about Coronavirus. Let’s loose the money and save lives,” Museveni said.

Museveni then cautioned companies and those dealing with foreign tourists who are already in the country to follow safety precautions put in place to avoid contracting and spreading the Coronavirus.

He made the remarks on Thursday, 12th, March 2020 during a meeting with investors and the business community at Entebbe. This comes at a time as the country joins international efforts to combat the pandemic to stabilize the crisis.

Although Uganda has not yet registered any Coronavirus case, the State Minister for Health, Jane Ruth Aceng said that the country is more prepared to prevent importation of COVID-19 into the country.

“COVID-19 spreads quite fast and we are all aware it has spread to all continents in the world and a large number of countries have already reported cases of COVID-19 with local transmission others with community transmission. So, just like any other country, Uganda is prepared to prevent importation of CVID-19 into the country,” Aceng said.

“COVID-19 is spread through what we call droplets infection, through coughing, sneezing and using our hands obviously if you touch surfaces that have the virus and you touch your mouth, your nose and your eyes, you will most likely get the infection. So we need to prepare through all ways by doing infection control and also employing preventative measures,” Aceng added.

Early this week, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus a pandemic, meaning it ran out of control.

Declaration of COVID-19 or any other infectious disease as a pandemic, tells governments, agencies and aid organizations worldwide to shift efforts from containment to mitigation.

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It has economic, political and societal impacts on a global scale and the WHO takes extreme care when making this determination.

Museveni bans tourists over Coronavirus
President Museveni bans foreign tourists over Coronavirus. File Photo

Meanwhile UNICEF and WHO issued safety precautions for the public globally which includes;

  • Avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily
  • Wash hands with soap often
  • Sneeze responsibly in tissue and get rid of them immediately
  • Use sanitizers 

This comes at a time when Kenya, Uganda’s neighbour confirmed first Coronavirus case in East Africa. Kenya’s Health Minister said it was in a woman, who had returned to Kenya from the United States on Friday 13, March 2020.

Kenya, the richest economy in the East African Region and a major destination for global firms and the United Nations (UN), is the 11th country in sub-Saharan Africa to confirm a case of COVID-19 after South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and others bringing the total reported cases to 39.

In a media briefing, Kenya’s Minister of Health, Mutahi Kagwe said the government has decided to ban public gatherings, sporting events, open-air religious meetings and all events that are of a huge public nature.

However, Kagwe said the school will remain open but all inter-school events would be suspended for now.

He said the patient had been diagnosed at the government’s national influenza centre laboratory on the night of March 12, after travelling home via London on March 5th, 2020.

The patient aged 27 years old is currently stable and her temperatures have gone down to normal says the Minister. She is receiving treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, the biggest health facility in Kenya.

“She cannot be released… until she gets negative,” Kagwe said.

Kagwe also warned traders against charging abnormal prices taking the chance of the outbreak to make abnormal profits.

Last month, Kenya Airways suspended flights to China and on Thursday, 12th, March, Rome and Geneva were added onto the list of suspended destinations.

Worldwide 127,000 people have been infected with the virus and 4,700 deaths recorded since the outbreak emerged in December 2019. 68,000 victims recovered according to John Hopkins University which is tracking the virus.