Covid-19: Government sets up 17 isolation centres

Thursday March 26 2020

A Coronavirus patient in China being attended

A Coronavirus patient in China being attended to by medics. Uganda's Ministry of Health has gazetted 17 places to be used as isolation centres for those undergoing mandatory quarantine in a bid to combat the escalating coronavirus cases. AFP PHOTO 

By DERRICK WANDERA & STEPHEN OTAGE

The Ministry of Health has gazetted 17 places to be used as isolation centres for those undergoing mandatory quarantine in a bid to combat the escalating coronavirus cases.

According to ministry officials, the places are located around Kampala city and Entebbe Municipality.
The places, according to the ministry, were identified after an assessment to guarantee everyone’s safety regardless of their social status.

Ms Robinah Nabbanja, the State minister of Health, yesterday said the isolation centres include hotels, university hostels and lodges.

She declined to name the places since their owners had expressed fear of losing customers.

“We wanted to name these places so that people who want to go for the quarantine can do that easily but the hotel owners said it would make other customers fear the places,” Ms Nabbanja said.

Daily Monitor has since established that one of the places that have been set aside for the mandatory quarantine is Douglas Villas Hostel in Makerere Kikoni, Kampala, which is keeping more than 90 coronavirus suspects for close monitoring.

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Ms Angella Nyombi Tembo, the managing director of the hotel, confirmed that they have 91 Ugandans in their hostel but none of them has been found to be positive.

“There is a team of six doctors, who are attending to them. The Ministry of Health chose us because we have affordable rooms with bathroom and toilet facilities. We are also fenced off which makes it easy for police and the military to provide security,” she said.

When our reporter visited the hostel yesterday, relatives of the quarantined suspects were busy taking food and clothing to the confined suspects who were not allowed to get out of the gated hostel.

After the confirmation of the first case of Covid-19 in the country, President Museveni closed all borders and the airport. He also stopped any more self-isolation for people coming from Category One countries, ordering them to go for the mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated places at their own costs.

Hundreds of travellers who had been held at Entebbe airport were transported to designated hotels for the 14-day quarantine.

Last evening, Ms Nabbanja said the prices of the places of isolation have been put at anywhere between Shs37,000 and Shs50, 000 depending on affordability.

Ms Susan Muhwezi, the chairperson of Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA), said their business had been hit by loses as most of the hotels’ returns had dropped from 85 per cent to 12 per cent due to closure of the border and the airport.

“Those hotels that are quarantining people are suffering the stigma because a section of the media has named them and that is dangerous for their business,” she said.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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