14 suspects at Kawempe Police  Station test positive for Covid-19

Wednesday September 16 2020
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Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Mr Patrick Onyango. Photo | Courtesy

By Andrew Bagala

Panic has gripped officers at Kawempe Police Station after 14 suspects there tested positive for coronavirus.

Officers at the police station, who refused to be identified, said they are fearing for their safety since they have no personal protection equipment to use while contacting the suspects who have tested positive for the virus.

“Some suspects are very sick and need help but they can’t be taken to hospital without following the Ministry of Health standard operating procedures. We can’t keep them out of the cells because they have become violent and could spread the virus to our officers,” the source said.

The police station was closed seven days ago after a suspect tested positive for Covid-19. The case was identified after a juvenile held there was subjected to coronavirus test before he could be admitted at a children remand home at Naguru in Kampala. 

This caused the testing of all the officers and suspects at Kawempe Police Station. Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the 14 suspects have been evacuated to isolation centres.

“The 14 suspects positive with coronavirus have been charged and Prisons have been allowed to remand them. They are right now in transit to the prison,” Mr Onyango said yesterday.
He did not disclose the prison the suspects were remanded to. Efforts to speak to Prisons spokesperson Frank Baine were futile as he did not pick our calls.

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Since last Friday when the test results returned, there has been panic at Kawempe Police Station Barracks, which accommodates more than 200 police families.

The officers residing in the barracks are not allowed to leave until they test negative for coronavirus. The cells are adjacent to police houses. Police officers said it is putting their families at great risk. 

Officers at the police station said they had since Friday been calling Ministry of Health officials for help in vain.
But the ministry spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyona, denied claims that they did not respond to the claims.

“That isn’t true because I sent an ambulance to pick some of them. This was on Saturday. One officer called me [about the matter]. He finally confirmed to me that they had been picked,” Mr Ainebyona said.

Mr Onyango said a few suspects are remaining in the cells and the medical team will soon test them again.
“Seven suspects will be given bond after the tests and then be taken to Mandela National Stadium to be quarantined,” he said.

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