Uganda deadly covid-19 variant india
Diana Atwine the health ministry Permanent Secretary. FILE PHOTO

In response to the scares caused by the deadly COVID-19 variant from India, the Ministry of Health encourages Ugandans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent further infection.

Following scares about the deadly COVID-19 variant from India, the Ministry of Health has urged all eligible Ugandans to acquire the COVID-19 jab to reduce the risk of further infections.

In a statement last week, Diana Atwine the health ministry Permanent Secretary urged the general public to utilise the opportunity in place and get vaccinated for the COVID-19.

She said, unlike the earlier detected variants, the Indian variant is dangerous to both the young and old. She revealed that the variant also has slightly different symptoms.

“We are worried because this variant is not the disease we knew last year. It attacks the young which was not the case with the strain we knew last year,” Dr Atwine revealed. 

This, however, came at a time when Uganda had confirmed one case related to the above variant. The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) Director Pontiano Kaleebu, disclosed that the detected case was from a group of individuals who returned from Indian.

“We have so far detected one case but are on the lookout for others. We are not sure if these travelers had interacted with other people,” Kaleebu said.

This comes at a time when the Ministry has confirmed 39 new cases from COVID-19 tests done on 29 April 2021 pushing the cumulative confirmed cases in Uganda to 41,905.

Earlier this week, Col Dr Henry Kyobe, the COVID-19 incident commander said the country has now registered five COVID-19 variants, namely Ugandan, Nigerian, South Africa, and UK strains. 

He, however, reminded that the UK, South Africa, and India variants are more transmissible and mainly affect a younger age group in cases where they have been recorded. 

“Variants of concern are those that change the epidemiology, transmission and effect on individuals. In that case, they might be more virulent and change from one age to the other. They might change in symptoms and in the worst case scenario therapeutics and vaccines may not be able to respond to them, but we have not yet seen that,” Dr Kyobe reminded.

Uganda deadly covid-19 variant india
Diana Atwine the health ministry Permanent Secretary. FILE PHOTO

The health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said there is a need to scale up surveillance, contact tracing and testing at the district level to detect cases early. She, however, called on the general public not to relax the COVID-19 measures to avoid scenarios happening in countries like India.

“There are five variants in the country. You may also have your own home grown variants in a few months’ time. We shall be telling the status of those variants,” Dr Aceng said.