Uganda has confirmed her first case of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the health minister Jane Ruth Aceng has announced.
Dr Aceng said the confirmed case is a 36 year old Ugandan male who arrived from Dubai, on Saturday March 21 2020 aboard Ethiopian Airlines at 2:00am.
During the screening process at the airport, Dr Aceng said the patient’s temperature was 38.7— prompting the health teams to isolate him at the airport for further follow up.
Subsequent temperatures taken at intervals of 30 minutes and one hour remained the same.
He was evacuated to Entebbe Grade B Hospital for further follow up where a nasal swab was taken for analysis.
“The confirmed case presented with high fever and poor appetite. He is not coughing neither did he have flu. However, the persistent fever prompted the health workers to isolate him.”
“His nasal swab samples was sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) for analysis. Results from UVRI showed the sample is positive for COVID-19.”
The patient has had travelled to Dubai on the March 17, 2020 for business purposes.
At the time of his travel, he was in good health. He is a resident of Kibuli, Kagungulu zone, Kampala.
To date, Dr.Aceng said a total of 1,827 travelers including Ugandans and others travelling back home have been identified as coming from high-risk countries for purposes of follow up.
About 827 are completing self-quarantine while about 1,000 are under quarantine.
She reassured the general public that all measures were undertaken to identify this case at the airport and isolate him in a timely manner.
“The passenger manifest has been retrieved and all contacts are known as we are in position of the passports of all the travelers that came on that plane.”
Uganda has suspended all incoming and outbound commercial passenger flights effective Sunday, March 22 at midnight for at least 30 days.
Addressing the country, President Yoweri Museveni said starting 12:00 am on Sunday 22 March 2020, no passenger planes or human movement will be allowed into or out of the country.
He said only Cargo planes and their crew will be allowed in Uganda as the country gets into total shutdown to prevent the Coronavirus.
Uganda is yet to record any case, with neigbhours Kenya, Tanzania, DR Congo and Rwanda all already fighting to contain the spread.
“Due to the indiscipline of certain people in our efforts to curb COVID-19, we have decided to prohibit all incoming passengers into the country by air, water or road,” Mr. Museveni said.
He added that: “No person Ugandan or otherwise will be allowed to enter Uganda by land, water – except drivers of cargo vehicles. No buses minibusses, salon cars, boda boda, pedestrians on foot, people on bicycles. Nor will they be allowed to exit by these means.”
The ban, to begin on 22nd March also applies to Ugandan citizens trying to return home.
The disruption to air travel is also certain to ripple through economies, causing widespread damage to hotels, car rental companies, and restaurants.