Uganda lifts ban on flights from India as Scientists warn of a more deadly 3rd wave of COVID-19
Uganda has recorded a consistent reduction in daily confirmed cases from the peak of 1,735 on the 10th of July 2021 to a new low of 62 on the 15th of August 2021, following the partial lifting of the second lockdown.
While issuing an update on the state of COVID-19 in the country today, the Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng noted that there is a consistent drop in positivity rate from the highest of 22% to an average of 2.8% to date, a fall in the daily admissions of the severe and critically ill patients from 204 at the peak to less than 50 per day, to-date and a reduction in daily deaths.
She, however, says that the drop in the daily number of deaths remains low due to late presentation to the hospitals.
“We have noted that a number of patients undergoing Home Based Care present late to the health facilities thereby leading to poor clinical outcomes. i.e. 27% of deaths registered occurred minutes within arrival at the COVID-19 Treatment Units. These could have been averted if the patients sought medical care early” Dr. Aceng says.
She further warned that projections from scientists show that the 3 rd wave of the pandemic is likely to peak at 4,000 laboratory-confirmed cases per day, over two times higher than the second wave. This means that 15% of the patients will require admission at the health facility and about 9,331 patients may require HDU/ICU admissions.
The Ministry of Health receives laboratory results of confirmed cases tested using PCR and antigen rapid diagnostic tests, however, sometimes several districts delay remitting results of the Antigen RDTS due to lack of power or internet.
This, the minister says necessitates harmonization of statistics immediately after the delayed results are received.
In this regard, Dr. Aceng says adjustments have been made to the cumulative numbers of confirmed cases to be 118,145.
The Minister also announced new travel measures instituted by the Ministry of Health following the review of the COVID-19 situation across the world, removing India from Category 1 with effect from today, 20th August 2021, and making it a category 2 country.
This means that travelers from India are required to come with results of a negative PCR test done 72 hours prior to travel and will be subjected to mandatory PCR testing upon arrival irrespective of the vaccination status.
Meanwhile, all travelers (including children) irrespective of vaccination status or country of origin, are required to arrive with a negative PCR test done 72 hours prior to travel and will be required to undergo mandatory screening and carry out a PCR test at their own cost at all Points of Entry including Entebbe International Airport.
The minister says the new measure will start effective 3rd September 2021
Truck drivers will continue to follow the procedures laid down by the East African Community. Tests must be done prior to travel and evidence provided.
Any traveler who tests negative for COVID-19 at a point of entry will be allowed to proceed with his/her onward journey. Any traveler (national or non-national) who tests positive for COVID-19 will be evacuated by the Ministry of Health to a designated COVID-19 isolation facility.
Children under 18 years who test positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to undergo home quarantine with their parent or guardian
“The basis of this is to ensure that we limit the spread of the variants and avoid importation of new variants into the country.”
Meanwhile, Uganda has received a total of 2,024,280 doses of the AstraZeneca and 300,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine to support the mass COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
The government is currently using a multi-pronged approach to secure adequate vaccines for the target population of 22 million – 18 years and above.
Minister Aceng says they are using different options to access vaccines from the global market. The options are; Purchase of vaccines through the COVAX facility, Purchase of vaccines through the African Union, Purchase of vaccines from manufacturers and Donations through the COVAX Facility
As of today, a total of 1267,951 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered to the population countrywide; 934,813 people have received the 1st dose while 333,138 have received the 2nd dose. Vaccination of the population will continue based on the availability of vaccines. All eligible persons will be vaccinated. The population is urged to be patient and wait for guidance from the Ministry of Health.