BY ROBERT KAMUKAMA
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| As the nation gears to the Presidential address later tonite (8pm), there worry especially in Kampala following the high rise in community infections with Saturday figures showing the highest ever registered number of 423 persons.
The Saturday COVID-19 infections was out of the 2,320 samples tested on Friday. Scientists have predicted that the surge may clock 40,000 by end of the year and worsen as we enter the political scene in 2021.
The total caseload in the country now stands at 6,017 from the 466,666 samples tested so far. According to the latest results released by the Health Ministry on Saturday, Moroto, Kampala, and Butaleja accounted for the highest number of cases with 166, 85, and 59 respectively. Two new deaths were also reported in Kampala and Mpigi bringing the number of reported deaths to 63.
About 100 cases were reported from the Moroto prison where at least 219 prisoners escaped with about 15 guns on Wednesday evening. In light of the increased cases, the Health ministry has re-echoed the cry for all Ugandans to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the disease.
Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng says that no one is safe anymore with the ongoing wide community spread. She says the responsibility has now shifted to individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“Once you get to stage four which is where we’re with widespread community transmission, the response activity is mitigation. And as I mentioned before, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves, if you don’t protect yourself, you will get it. So everybody must be on alert and everybody must be committed to protecting themselves and their loved ones. The protective measures are known, the government has over and over again reemphasized them and we need to adhere to that for now.” said Aceng.
According to Aceng, the disease is now spreading in non-traditional groups. At the onset of the disease in March, Ugandan returnees were the source of infection. However, this later moved to truck drivers with over 650 them testing positive. Right now communities are the source of infection with Kampala having the most widespread cases.
Since the month of August, on average Uganda records 400 cases of COVID-19 every week. According to the ministry, 300 children aged 0-18 years have already contracted the virus. Due to increasing infections, the health ministry has resorted to opening auxiliary treatment centres to deal with the high numbers.
Earlier modelling carried out by scientists predicted that by October 2020, over 350,000 would have been infected with the virus if a national lockdown was not instituted.