Uganda on Tuesday reported 32 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 pushing the country’s tally to 489.
Among the new cases, 19 are truck drivers from Elegu, Malaba, Busia and Mutukula border points. The other 13 are contacts from previously confirmed truck drivers and ‘alerts’, according to a statement released by the health ministry on Tuesday.
Additionally, 25 truck drivers, from Tanzania (9), Kenya (12), Eritrea (1), Congo (1) and one whose nationality was not captured were denied entry and handed over to the authorities of their countries.
All these were out of the 2,222 samples tested on Monday June 1.
According to Dr Charles Olaro, the Director of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health, there are currently 391 admitted confirmed cases in 15 regional referral hospitals across the country.
To date, Uganda registered a total of 79 recoveries with no fatalities.
While appearing on NTV's On the Spot last Thursday, Dr Diana Atwine, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, said the biggest threat to government effort against further spread of the virus is the borders.
“We have 53 border points that are gazetted but the biggest ones are about eight and those are the ones most people use to come into the country, so that is where we are putting more focus,” she said.
Despite knowing the risk, President Museveni has continously insisted on having truck drivers coming into the country, arguing that stopping cargo from coming in would be a very grave mistake. He, however, gave a new directive three weeks ago where truck drivers are now not allowed to proceed without getting their results after testing at the border.
In this case, foreign truck drivers who test positive for the virus are then handed over to their respective country authorities while the Ugandans are immediately taken for treatment.
While addressing the nation on Monday to guide on the way forward, President Museveni reiterated on the need for calm in regard to the truck drivers who are seemingly the new epicentre of the soaring Covid-19 cases in Uganda.
“The truck drivers will be tested and monitored. There is, therefore, no need for panic because we are testing and tracking those they have come in contact with,” Mr Museveni said.