What you need to know:
- Officials say the country has started experiencing signs of the third wave of Covid-19.
Top officials in government have said schools may not be reopened soon because of the worrying signals of a possible third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes a day after sources at the Education ministry said schools would reopen in two weeks time with the Primary One, Two, and Three pupils as well as Senior One and Two students given priority.
“What we expect now is the third wave and we are seeing some signals of the third wave coming. If the third wave comes and we already have increasing cases [to show that it is coming], then you can’t reopen schools,” Dr Monica
Musenero, the senior presidential advisor on epidemics, said yesterday in an interview with Daily Monitor.
She said government is still sticking to the plan of sufficient vaccination before reopening schools.
“But we said it [reopening of schools] depends on the vaccination of teachers and children above 18 years. We also look at the epidemiological state of the country,” she said.
As of August 23, a total of 170,234 teachers had received their first jab and up to 61,848 had been fully vaccinated with two doses out of the government target of 550,000 teachers in the country.
To safely reopen schools, the government had set out to first vaccinate at least 357,500 teachers, representing 65 per cent of the targeted number. However, to ensure safety of the learners, the government announced that any teacher who is not vaccinated will not be allowed to teach when schools reopen.
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, said in a tweet that clusters of Covid-19 infections are already being reported in communities and hospitals are experiencing an increase in admissions.
“Soroti Hospital is receiving more admissions due to Covid-19 clusters in the sub-region. On August 24, at least 72 Covid-19 patients were admitted to Soroti [Hospital], Arua [Hospital] had more than 40,” he tweeted.
He added: “There are several other positive patients admitted under home-based care. This means transmission is still ongoing. We need to keep our preventive measures active and also observe all the Ministry of Health guidelines and SOPs.”
A total of 23,951 people are undergoing home-based care, according to the Ministry of Health statistics and 386 people are admitted in hospitals across the country.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, a total 119,915 cases have been registered, 3,012 people have died and 95,578 people recovered.
Dr Henry Kajumbula, the head of infection control and prevention in the Ministry of Health scientific advisory committee on Covid-19, said there is need to increase vaccine coverage to minimise the potential and severity of the third wave.
“To avert the third wave, the most important thing would be vaccination. [But even if] people are vaccinated, it [the third wave] may come but its impact will be minimal. The people have to adhere to preventive measures,” he said.
Dr Musenero said preventing the third wave will require a drastic action from communities, but added that adherence to prevention measures alone may not stop a third wave.
“But if we manage to suppress the disease then you can open. It depends on how the population responds [to SOPs] and also the weather. Epidemiology is very complicated,” she said.
According to Dr Musenero, there is an increased violation of Covid-19 SOPs.