Health authorities in Kyotera District have placed residents at Kasensero landing site under quarantine after detecting seven community infections.
The landing site which is home to over 20,000 people is one of the high-risk areas for Covid-19 because it is located at the Uganda-Tanzania border.
According to Dr Edward Muwanga, the Kyotera District health officer, the infections were detected during the ongoing countrywide rapid assessment survey to ascertain the level of community transmissions.
“We have so far tested over 1,000 people at Kasensero and seven of them have tested positive. Our health workers have been testing these people since last week,” he said during an interview on Saturday.
Dr. Muwanga said the positive cases are Ugandan fishermen living at the landing site, expressing fear that community infections coming up at a time when government is easing the lockdown could cause a spike in the number of cases.
“These cases is an indication that the virus might have spread to more villages since this area is so close to the Uganda- Tanzanian border,” he added.
Dr Muwanga said they plan to take the patients to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital since Masaka Regional Referral hospital is full and can no longer admit more patients. However, since the road connecting to the landing site is cutoff by floods, they are still stuck with the patients and asked government to provide a chopper to airlift them to Mbarara Regional Hospital.
Ms Judith Akol, the acting Kyotera District police commander said they are going to deploy more personnel to block people in Kasensero from crossing to nearby villages.
“There are some stubborn residents who think they can meander through and come to Kyotera and Kakuuto towns. This is not going to be tolerated,” she said.
The rate of infections have been increasing exponentially in the past two months and by Saturday morning, 12 new cases had been confirmed bringing the country’s tally to 329.
Meanwhile, Mr Patrick Kintu Kisekulo, the chairperson Kyotera District has advised Ministry of Education not to reopen schools in Rakai and Kyotera districts for candidate classes as directed by the President, saying this may lead to spike in new infections.
“Our suggestion is that schools here should reopen on a later date because 45 percent students are Tanzanian nationals. If schools reopen and all Tanzanian students return to Uganda, we might record more cases of the virus,”he said.
Unlike cross-border cargo truck drivers from Tanzania who are screened and tested for Covid-19 on arrival at Mutukula border, residents in neighbouring villages and towns walk freely across either side of the border.