Experts have warned that Uganda should not jubilate about
the recent low numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19 saying that the country could soon see a resurgence of high infection rates.
According to Ministry of Health results released on Tuesday, eight people tested positive for COVID-19 from 788 samples tested on Monday. They also
recorded three new deaths. The new cases
brought the cumulative number of people testing positive to date to 40, 063. On
Sunday, only 36 new cases were recorded and 40 cases had been
recorded, the day before.
For the whole of last week, there was no single day that the
cases exceeded 40, yet the same can’t be said of December and
November when single-day records could go to the highs of 400 new cases.
Speaking to URN on Tuesday about the low cases, Dr Ayella
Stephen Ataro, an epidemiologist said they shouldn’t make Ugandans loose guard
and that they don’t necessarily mean we are defeating the virus. Ayella said the true picture of Uganda’s status can only
be painted if mass testing is done.
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His view is shared by Public Health Policy Expert, Dr Freddie Ssengoba who says daily tests should no longer be an appropriate tool
for measuring the pandemic status.
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With testing now being largely paid for, Ssengooba says a
lot of people are falling sick and recovering without being traced. He says
most of the tests carried out now are for cosmetic compliance purposes for
those aiming to travel or are about to meet VIPs.
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Dr Henry Kajumbula, a microbiologist involved in COVID-19
treatment at Mulago Hospital agrees that recently, even the admissions at the
hospital that was months ago overwhelmed with numbers have grossly gone down
saying this came off as a surprise to them considering that the country has
just concluded an election that was marred with wide disrespect of COVID-19
Standard Operating Procedures of proper mask-wearing and keeping a physical
It’s not just Mulago that has only a few cases, other
hospitals out of Kampala for instance in Lira have reported a deep in COVID-19 admissions. But Ssengoba says that although this is being portrayed as though
elections had no impact on the pandemic, a lot of people though not tested
could have been infected through the door-to-door campaigns.
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Meanwhile, the number of reported cases of COVID-19 globally has
declined for the fifth consecutive week, the head of the UN health agency said on Monday, underscoring that “simple public health measures
work, even in the presence of variants”.
“Last week saw the
lowest number of reported weekly cases since October”, Tedros Adhanom
Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO
journalists at a regular press briefing in Geneva.
a nearly 50 per cent drop this year, Dr Tedros acknowledged that there
is more reason for hope of bringing the pandemic under control. “the
fire is not out, but we have reduced its size,” he said, adding that
“how we respond to this trend” is what matters now.