The study titled, ‘Preparedness and Vulnerability of African Countries against Importations of COVID-19: Modelling Study’ shows that countries within the East Africa bloc have moderately low chances of getting the disease from China
A study carried out by Lancet shows that Uganda is one of many
countries that face the lowest risk of being infected by the Coronavirus.
The study which was carried out by using data on the volume of air travel
departing airports in the infected provinces in China and directing it to
Africa to estimate the risk of the importation per country shows that Uganda,
Burundi, South Sudan and Rwanda have low risks of being infected by the
The study titled, ‘Preparedness and Vulnerability of African Countries against
Importations of COVID-19: Modelling Study’ shows that countries within
the East Africa bloc have moderately low chances of getting the disease from
Majority of the flights 47.8 percent that are made from the three countries are
to Beijing, followed by 30.5 percent to Guangdong and 14.7 percent to Shanghai.
Data from the World Health Organization-WHO shows that the
provinces have some of the lowest number of infected persons. As of March 4,
2020, Beijing had 417 cases while Shanghai had 338. Guangdong had the highest
number of cases with 1350.
Even with the low risk, the ministry of health is asking government for Shs 25
billion to increase its preparedness and be ready to address any future cases
that might enter the country.
Dr Allan Muruta, the commissioner in charge of Epidemiology Surveillance and
Public Health Emergencies at the ministry of health says that despite their low
risk to being infected, they need to be ready for any eventuality.
Muruta says that even with no funds, they are going ahead to carry out some
preventive measures such as screening, limiting public assemblies and
sensitizing the public using different avenues.
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Public awareness messages are asking people to avoid being in crowded places
and also to carry out proper handwashing practices as a way of keeping the
disease at bay.
In addition to this, two isolation centres one in Entebbe and the other in
Kampala at Naguru General Hospital have been set up to handle any cases that
might arise. The isolation centres have a total bed capacity of 15 people.
Since WHO declared a coronavirus outbreak, the government of issued a travel
advisory to all Ugandan nationals advising them not to travel to China. So
far, the country has not yet reported any cases of the disease.
The country has also been added onto the WHO list of 20 countries within the
region that have the ability to test for the disease which is an improvement.
Testing is being carried out at the Uganda Virus Research Institute. Last
month, only South Africa and Senegal had the ability to carry out tests.
In a statement on the status of coronavirus in Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the
WHO Regional Director for Africa says that the few cases that have been
reported on the African continent should act as a wakeup call for all
The Lancet report highlights countries like Egypt, Algeria and
South Africa as facing the highest risk of importation of the disease from
China. Other countries like Nigeria and Ethiopia are cited as facing the second-highest
risk. This is followed by Morocco, Sudan, Angola, Tanzania and Ghana and Kenya
that were found to moderate risk of infections from China.
So far 14 cases of the disease have been reported from six
countries that are cited in the report.
However, the cases reported have not been imported from China as
mentioned in the report.
Senegal, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia have
reported cases of coronavirus but the cases originate from nationals from Italy
Despite China not being a very big risk to Uganda, other countries
such as the U.S, UK, India, Italy and France whose national visit the country
mainly for tourism are a threat. They have all have confirmed cases of
As of Wednesday, WHO estimates that over 93,000 people have been infected with
the diseases in more than 76 countries. The number of new cases in China has reduced
but around the world, they seem to be increasing with 120 and 2103 new