One of Uganda’s leading telecom companies, MTN said they had launched special data bundles of Shs2, 000 to allow its subscribers work from home, valid from 9 am to 5 pm in attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The telecom giant also said they had scrapped charges on mobile money transactions for the amounts of Shs20,000 and above in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“You must have realised that today (Thursday), any money sent via MTN that is beyond Shs20,000 is sent freely. This is because we want to avoid the handling of shilling notes that could aid the spread of coronavirus,” the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Wim Vanhelleputte told journalists in Kampala.
He also said the company had set aside Shs500 million which would be invested in efforts against the spread of the virus that has claimed the lives of 9,020 people across 157 countries and territories, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.
By Thursday afternoon, Uganda’s ministry of health had not reported any confirmed case.
The number of novel coronavirus cases globally stood at 217,510.
“Starting this afternoon via our SMS channels, we shall relay messages from the Ministry of Health on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus but also, symptoms to look out for,” Mr Vanhelleputte added.
In his national address on the spread of the disease, President Museveni on Wednesday said with money in markets and banks, the Ministry of Health would publish special operating procedures governing money transactions, including disinfecting the coins, using mobile money and using online purchases, among others.
“Once you avoid open coughing and sneezing and you wash your hands regularly, then you will not contaminate the surfaces ─ the tables, the door handles etc. Therefore, your hands do not pollute the surfaces,” he said.
Between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, there were 236 new deaths reported and 8,015 new cases globally.
The tallies, using data collected by AFP offices from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), take into account the fact that criteria for counting victims and coronavirus screening practices vary from country to country.
China -- excluding Hong Kong and Macau -- where the outbreak emerged in late December, has to date declared 80,928 cases, including 3,245 deaths, with 69,601 people recovered. The country declared 34 new cases and eight new fatalities since Wednesday.
Outside China, there have been 5,775 deaths by Thursday afternoon -- 228 new fatalities -- out of 136,590 cases, of which 7,981 were new.
The worst-hit nation after China is Italy with a total of 2,978 deaths (35,713 cases), Iran with 1,284 fatalities (17,361 cases), Spain with 598 deaths (13,716 cases) and France with 264 deaths (9,134 cases).
Since 1700 GMT Wednesday, Pakistan, Russia, Costa Rica and Mexico confirmed their first deaths. Mauritius, Barbados, Zambia, Fiji, the Bahamas, El Salvador and Nicaragua all reported their first cases.