Coronavirus: Be safe, don’t panic

Monday March 23 2020

Health Minister, Dr Ruth Jane Aceng. File photo

Health Minister, Dr Ruth Jane Aceng. File photo 

By Editorial

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the globe, all countries are taking precautionary measures to protect their citizens. Uganda has now confirmed the first case of coronavirus and the need for strict adherence to set guidelines cannot be overemphasised. By the time we registered our first case, the Health ministry led by Dr Ruth Aceng had done a commendable job in disseminating information and educating Ugandans about the virus.
The confirmed case, a 36-year-old male resident of Kibuli, Kakungulu Zone in Kampala, had travelled to Dubai on March 17 for a business trip. He returned to Uganda on March 21 aboard Ethiopian Airlines and during the screening process at Entebbe Airport, his temperature was said to be at 38.7. He was immediately isolated and monitored and samples sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute for analysis returned positive for COVID-19.
This confirmation is bad news for Uganda but we should take keen interest in strengthening our precautionary measures at homes, public places and offices. Our first case was registered after some countries had lost a big number of citizens and registered high number of infections. During this time, a lot of information about prevention and management of the COVID-19 has been passed around but a lot more is still required.
For instance, how much information is being sent to rural communities and in what form? Health workers should be deliberate in ensuring nothing is left to chance. We have already seen people openly defying presidential directives aimed at protecting citizens, with priests celebrating mass and distributing Holy Communion in complete disregard for basic protective measures.
As the President has consistently emphasised in his messages, COVID-19 can be prevented if we follow basic hygiene practices. As the health teams manage the confirmed case, there is no need to panic but there is urgent need to be vigilant and responsible as far as your health is concerned.
Guidelines have been issued as far as travel, schools, churches, bars, and some markets are concerned. Sports leagues have also been suspended; conferences, concerts, large gatherings have also been affected. Depending on developments, additional measures could be added.
It is important that we follow these guidelines and those found to be defying them must be dealt with accordingly. Some of the measures affect businesses but there are few options under the circumstances. If we abide by the rules, we will get out of this soon. Follow the guidelines and stay safe.

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