Fix gaps in coronavirus plan before it’s too late

Sunday March 22 2020

Health Minister, Dr Ruth Jane Aceng.

Health Minister, Dr Ruth Jane Aceng.  


Even before a case is confirmed in Uganda, people are feeling the viciousness of coronavirus, aka Covid-19.
The 2019 novel coronavirus has spread to 160 countries including China.

The virus has touched every nerve of the economy, killing more than 11,000 people with 275,000 confirmed cases. The deadly virus has been firmed in 38 African countries.

The government is working hard to stop sick people from bring the virus into the country and for that matter, we commend the President for moving quickly to avert the danger.

From the schools closure to strict travel restrictions and compulsory quarantine to compulsory hand-washing, among other measures, must be updated on a daily basis.

We also applaud the men and women who are working hard to keep us safe. But the gaps in the implementation of the key measures put in place to fight Covid-19 such as the allegations of corruption in the quarantine and the congestion etc. must be fixed quickly.

The bribery allegations must be investigated and the culprits punished without mercy. The Judas are trading lives of 42 million Ugandans for pieces of silver. This is unacceptable.


Again on Thursday, a group of Chinese who had just arrived in the country rejected one of the hotels in Entebbe and dictated that they should be taken to Kampala.

The police officers on duty blindly escorted the Chinese to Kampala even after Ministry of Health officials had instructed that the group be quarantined for 14 days at Imperial Botanical Hotel in Entebbe.

Our view is that the government officials, including police officers who allowed the Chinese to move from Entebbe to Kampala without even ascertaining whether they are sick or not, must be investigated and punished or reprimanded.

The quarantine area must remain in Entebbe and the Chinese quarantined in Kampala must be taken back to Entebbe and security beef up security at all the designated hotels. A team of health experts should be deployed to monitor people in the mandatory quarantine.

Clear-cut measures, spelling out the dos and don’ts should also be put in place to protect staff at the designated hotels. The hotels housing the government compulsory quarantine facilities in Entebbe, should be out of bounds for other guests. Belligerent foreigners should be asked to return to their respective countries.

We must also prioritise the porous borders as a matter of urgency. Let’s beef up security at all the border points and close more than 103 panya routes [illegal entries]. We must fix the gaps before it’s too late, and in the worst case scenario, the President might bite the bullet and temporarily close the borders and suspend all arriving and departing passenger flights.

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