The number of COVID-19 cases in Uganda has risen to 74 after 11 new cases tested positive on Friday.
All the new cases are truck drivers from Tanzania and Kenya. Six drivers from Tanzania entered the country through the Mutukula border crossing while the five drivers from Kenya entered through Malaba and Busia border posts.
Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services urges the general public to remain calm and vigilant, even if the cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.
The 11 new cases bring the number of truck drivers that have tested positive to 17. All the drivers were identified through mandatory border point entry testing that was begun two weeks ago by the health ministry.
Following concerns that truck drivers entering the country might be country’s weak point in the COVID-19 fight, the minister of internal affairs, Jeje Odongo yesterday during the security press conference intimated that government was puzzled on how to handle the situation but was considering options.
As of today, the health ministry is tracing over 300 Ugandans who are believed to have come into contact with at least one of the 17 truck drivers who tested positive.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Trade and Cooperatives will put in place call off centers for truck drivers, in a move aimed at fighting the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID -19).
With trans-boundary cargo vehicle drivers and their crew appearing to be the main new threat of spreading COVID-19 disease in Uganda, the ministry of trade think trying to revise guidelines for the truck drivers so that they have designated stopping centers.
Under the new arrangement, the ministry is going to put several designated places dubbed call off centers where the truck drivers are supposed to rest and refresh before continuing with their journeys.
Amelia Kyambadde, the trade minister, says several districts on the routes where the truck drivers will be passing are going to identify places that will later be manned with security and medical personnel.
According to the presidential directives, truck drivers must continue working but be subjected to testing.
However, the ministry of health has been finding it difficult at times to trace these truck drivers, and also some of them have been making contacts with communities.