COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic
World Health Organization declares COVID-19 virus a pandemic. Photo/Getty Images

COVID-19 virus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization

COVID-19 virus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and now Uganda is figuring out effective measures in an attempt to prevent the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

As a result, the Ministry of Health is due to begin spraying disinfectants on all travellers and their luggage entering Uganda through Entebbe International Airport to prevent the spread of Coronavirus into the country.

The COVID-19 virus incident manager at the Ministry of Health, Atek Kagirita said the new measures will also protect travellers who accidentally came into contact with the infected persons.

“The chemical we are going to use is actually by US Food and Drug Administration and WHO approved chemical, and these chemicals are used worldwide,” Kagirita said.

The spraying exercise is already been executed in countries like China, Italy, US and South Korea.

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As of Wednesday, March 11, 2020, WHO report on the virus indicates that 126,380 people have been infected and 4,634 deaths from the disease recorded and 68,313 recovered from the disease.

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic
World Health Organization declares COVID-19 virus a pandemic. Photo/Getty Images

Uganda has no confirmed cases, but according to Dr Yonas Woldermariam, WHO Country’s Director Uganda explained that the disease epidemiology is difficult to control because the virus is new and mode of spread is higher which require extreme control measures.

Ministry of Public Service in an attempt to control the virus from spreading to the country has restricted civil servants from travelling out of the country for official duties, particularly to countries already affected by the disease.

“Travelling to those areas which are troubled for instance with Coronavirus that has been severely restricted. And a bit of advice has been given through the Ministry of Health,” Minister of Public Service, Muruli Mukasa said.

However, Minister of Health, Dr Ruth Jane Aceng says travellers from 16 countries rated with high risk will be subjected to self-quarantine even when they do not exhibit signs of Coronavirus.

“People residing in the following 16 countries; Italy, San Marino, Iran, South Korea, France, China, Germany, Spain, Belgium, the United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Malaysia should consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda,” Aceng said.

The self-quarantine guidelines include; living in a well-ventilated room away from other people such as family members preferably with separate hygiene and toilet facility.

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Aceng adds that if he/she shares the same hygiene and toilet facility, one should ensure that he/she disinfects it immediately after use, using regular disinfectant or soap and water.

Now experts in economics have urged Uganda to adjust its budget to fight effects of the Coronavirus outbreak that it might have on the economy. According to experts the disruption to global trade in sectors like aviation, tourism is likely to lead to an economic slowdown worldwide which could hit countries like Uganda severely.

China is the leading country in global trade, its economy has greatly slowed down considerably since the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease last year, most likely to affect other countries like Uganda which depends mainly on China for its imports.

And according to economic experts government planners should look into the matter by cutting down unnecessary costs to minimize the effects.

Dr Fred Muhumuza and Ramathan Ggoobi both experts in economics says Uganda should start cutting unnecessary costs.

“Part of the budget of Uganda goes into foreign travel. Now this should be a natural way of saying well we are halting travel and this is critical, most of the remedies are in strong leadership and strong leadership should start with cutting deficit financing,” Dr Fred Muhumuza, Economist Makerere University said.

Ramathan Ggoobi, an Economist Makerere University Business School (MUBS) said the outbreak of the disease is most likely to affect trade and loan acquisition.

“So, you might see our revenue not performing as first, because first of all the projects that we are implementing here are Chinese loans that generate an expenditure that is taxable, and yet our economy has been shifting from Agriculture and industry in terms of economic activity to services and services require face to face contact,” Ggoobi said.