Covid-19: Panic as Tanzanian patient escapes from isolation centre

Tuesday June 2 2020

The health team at Kasensero taking samples

The health team at Kasensero taking samples from residents in a community Covid-19 testing exercise. URN PHOTO 

By URN

Health officials in Kasensero Town Council in Kyotera district have launched a manhunt for a Tanzanian national who escaped from isolation after testing positive for coronavirus disease last week.

The Tanzanian national had temporarily been isolated at an undisclosed facility as health workers waited for an ambulance to transfer him together with four others to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.

He is one of nine people who tested positive for Covid-19 at Kasensero Landing Site during the mass community surveillance program.
According to Dr Ronald Reagan Mutebi, the head of the surveillance program, the patient had varnished by the time an ambulance arrived to pick him and efforts to trace the patient have so far not yielded results.

He says the disappearance of the Tanzanian patient has triggered panic among residents and local leaders, saying he may infect other people in the community.

The escape of the Tanzanian national is also blamed on the absence of a treatment centre in Kyotera district. All Covid-19 patients from Kyotera district are transferred to Entebbe and Mbarara hospitals because the Masaka Regional Treatment Centre is already filled to capacity.

Mr Musa Bwanika Mutima, the Kasensero Central Cell chairperson says that by the time the Tanzanian patient escaped, the surveillance teams were still tracing the contacts of all the nine patients from Kasensero. He says it is likely that the patient could have crossed back to Tanzania.

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Maj David Matovu, the Kyotera Resident District Commissioner (RDC), says they are working with Police and UPDF Marine to intensify patrols on Lake Victoria during day and night to stop Tanzanian nationals who sneak into the district.

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