No Covid-19 third wave threat in Uganda – NPA

Wednesday July 21 2021
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A man wears a mask on 8th Street Namuwongo in Kampala on September 1, 2020. The National Planning Authority has predicted that there is no imminent threat of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic for Uganda. PHOTO/ DAVID LUBOWA

By Franklin Draku
By Nobert Atukunda

The National Planning Authority has predicted that there is no imminent threat of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Uganda. 
The prediction is based on the authority’s weekly model projections which indicate a continuing decline in daily new cases, with expectation of an average of 454 new cases per day for the week ending July 24.
On July 18, the country registered 254 new cases of Covid-19 bringing the cumulative confirmed cases to 90,910. 

At least 2,412 deaths have been reported since the first Covid case was confirmed in the country in March 2020.
The latest model also projects that a total of 3,177 new cases will be registered for the week of July 18 to July 24 and 3,036 for July 25 to July 31. 
In the week of July 11 to July 17, the model predicted 4,011 new cases but the actual cases reported for the week were 3,219.

“Probably, people are now starting to live with the Covid pandemic and probably the enforcement of standard operating procedures is also becoming weaker due to the former or weariness of the security forces,” a statement by the authority released on Monday reads in part.
The weekly model shows that the number of daily new cases is coming down though the rate of decrease is slowing. 
It says average daily cases for the week ending July 10 were 558, for the week ending July 17 were 460.

NPA projects that an average of 454 new cases will be registered per day for the week ending July 24 whereas for the week ending July 31 is 434. 
“This is significantly a high number compared to the time when the easing of the measures for the first lockdown started (May 26, 2020); average number was 14 new cases per day,” NPA says in its new predictions.

The authority says the total lockdown has been successful in reducing the spread of Covid-19 and that the number of daily new cases is coming down.
The Ministry of Health has, however, warned Ugandans not to celebrate yet, but be on guard, saying other countries have already registered the third wave. 
Dr Charles Olaro, the director of Curative Services at the ministry, said government will continue to prepare for any eventuality. 

“You know other places have already had four, so it would be good that we prepare for successive waves. We have just to prepare and anticipate. Preparations include sourcing vaccines, expanding oxygen capacity, space in health facilities, recruiting additional health workers, which are all things which are ongoing,” he said.
Dr Olaro said the country has learnt the hard way and that it will use the experience to better prepare for what may come next.
“It is not that we have seen the numbers come down and then we say it is okay.  We are going to prepare even better than when we were in first wave and second wave,” he said.

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Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the general sectary of Uganda Medical Association (UMA), said waves do not necessarily follow each other and that Ugandans should not celebrate yet.
“I do not think someone would expect it (third wave) right away. We expect cases to continue going down but at some point the cases might increase,” he said
Dr Misaki Wayengera, the chairperson of the ministerial scientific advisory committee on Covid-19, said vaccination efforts must be enhanced to reduce the threat. 
He said while the first cases were imported, the disease is now within the communities and easy to spread.

“If we do not vaccinate our people, then we shall have the third wave. It is more feasible now because the disease is no longer imported, it is living within us,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, said government is aware of what is bound to happen if the third wave hits the country.
“That is why there is resurgence plan. Just like other countries who have experienced it (third wave), we expect that it will be there,” he said.
 

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