Ugandans have been advised to avoid crowded areas, handshakes and maintain high hygienic standards in attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus which is believed to have originated in a market trading in wild animals in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
The deadly virus has so far infected nearly 6,000 people in China and killed more than 130.
Currently, there is no confirmed or suspected case of the virus in Uganda.
"However, it is important to note that there are substantial number of passengers who travel between Uganda and China as well as other affected countries for various reasons. Therefore, it is important that health workers and general public are kin and more vigilant in quickly identifying suspected cases of coronavirus by enhancing the surveillance and reporting. This is aimed at early detection, isolation and containment in case of an outbreak into the country,” said Dr Charles Olaro, the acting director general health services.
In a statement issued on January 29, Dr Olaro, said a task force has been activated to coordinate preparedness and response activities in addition to intensifying surveillance of suspected cases at the points of entry into Uganda especially Entebbe International Airport.
“The teams at Entebbe International Airport are conducting screening for 2019-nCOV (novel corona virus),” he said before adding that the ministry has designated Entebbe and Naguru regional referral hospitals as centres for case management.
So far, the Chinese ambassador organised a meeting at the embassy where leadership groups were formed to monitor Chinese nationals in Uganda.
The ministry of health also met with Chinese medical team in Uganda who conveyed their plans to the ministry officials.
In the meantime, Ugandans have been advised to frequently clean their hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, avoid crowded areas and shaking hands.
“When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue- throw tissue away immediately in a bin and wash hands. Thoroughly cook meat and eggs before consumption. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic. This therefore means they are transmitted between animals and people.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, and cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?
A virus similar to the SARS pathogen has killed 132 people and spread around the world since emerging in a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Here are the countries that have confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus:
As of Wednesday, more than 5,900 people have been infected across China, the majority in and around Wuhan.
Most of the 132 who have died were in that region, but officials have confirmed multiple deaths elsewhere, including the first in the capital Beijing.
Macau, a gambling hub hugely popular with mainland tourists, has confirmed seven cases as of Tuesday.
In Hong Kong, ten people are known to have the disease. Of those, six arrived via a newly built high-speed train terminal that connects the city to the mainland.
Seven cases have been confirmed in Australia -- six who arrived in the country from Wuhan -- and are being treated in hospitals in Sydney, Melbourne and Gold Coast.
The latest case, a 44-year-old man from Wuhan, is stable and isolated at Gold Coast University Hospital.
Cambodia's health ministry reported the country's first case of the virus on Monday, a 60-year-old man who arrived from Wuhan and is now stable.
Japan's health authorities have confirmed seven cases as on Tuesday, including its first case of human-to-human transmission.
The infected man in his 60s had not visited Wuhan but had recently transported tourists from the area on his bus.
Malaysia confirmed three new cases late Tuesday, bringing the total to seven. All are Chinese nationals.
Nepal said a 32-year-old man arriving from Wuhan had the disease. He was initially quarantined, but recovered and was discharged.
Singapore has confirmed 10 cases, all arrivals from Wuhan.
South Korean media reported have reported four cases, citing the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The three men and a woman all travelled from Wuhan.
Sri Lanka confirmed its first case on Monday -- a 43-year-old Chinese tourist from Hubei province.
Taiwan has uncovered eight cases so far, including two female Chinese nationals in their seventies who arrived in the country as part of a tour group.
Thailand has announced 14 confirmed infections Tuesday -- the highest number outside China.
Health officials said that of the six new cases -- all Chinese visitors from Wuhan, and five belonged to the same family and ranged in ages six to 70.
Vietnam has so far confirmed two cases of the virus. An infected man arrived in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month from Wuhan and possibly passed the virus on to his son.
Canada confirmed its first case on Monday, a man who had travelled to Wuhan, and has reported a second suspected case -- his wife, who made the trip with him.
On Tuesday health officials confirmed another case, also in a man recently returned from Wuhan.
The US has confirmed five cases in patients who had recently arrived from Wuhan -- two in California and one each in Arizona, Chicago and Washington state.
There are four known cases in France, the first European country to be affected.
The most recent, an elderly Chinese tourist, was in serious condition in hospital on Tuesday, health officials said.
Germany now has four confirmed cases, including the first of human-to-human transmission on European soil -- a 33-year-old man who fell ill after attending a training session hosted by a visiting Chinese colleague.
All four patients are in isolation in a Munich hospital.
United Arab Emirates
UAE announced its first case in a family from Wuhan, state media reported Wednesday.