Uganda Parliament bus transporting Covid-19 patients catches fire

Police fire brigade pictured on September 17, 2020 extinguishing fire that caught the bus that was transporting Covid-19 patients. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OKELLO


What you need to know:

  • Major Santos Lapolo, the Gulu resident district commissioner confirmed the incident saying the patients were picked from Kitgum District and were being taken to Kampala for better treatment.

A bus that was transporting Covid-19 patients from Kitgum to Kampala went in to flames on Thursday at Koro sub-county in Omoro District.

Eye witnesses, said there were about 21 Covid-19 patients aboard when the bus registration number UG 0391 H caught fire on Gulu-Kampala highway, some 100 meters after leaving Koro Abili trading centre.

Mr James Ojok, an eyewitness told this reporter that immediately the bus stopped at the roadside, he saw smoke start emanating from the windows.

“The occupants of the bus started disembarking and running for their lives. The driver tried to put out the flames using a fire extinguisher,” Mr Ojok said. 

By the time police fire brigade from Gulu central police station arrived to put off the fire, it was too late.

By press time, all the 21 patients were reportedly safe while a standby ambulance had arrived at the scene with a team of health workers.

Major Santos Lapolo, the Gulu resident district commissioner confirmed the incident saying the patients were picked from Kitgum District and were being taken to Kampala for better treatment.

He said the facility at Kitgum had run out of space for admitting Covid-19 patients.

 “We are repatriating 21 Covid-19 patients back to Gulu City. These people are already traumatized. I wonder why they should be transported to Kampala for treatment”, Mr Lapolo said.

In a tweet, the Ministry of Health senior public relations officer, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona said they had laiased with police to devise means of transporting the patients to final destination.

"We have taken note of an unfortunate incident where a Parliament Bus transporting COVID-19   patients from Gulu was gutted by fire. All the passengers onboard have been rescued. We are working with Police to devise means of transporting passengers to final destination," he said.

The incident happened just moments after the ministry said they had registered 114 new Covid-19 infections as the number of confirmed cases on Thursday rose to 5,380.

The virus has so far claimed 60 Ugandans with 2,489 recoveries since March when it was confirmed in the country.

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