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Fear As Ugandan Tour Guide Is Quarantined Over Coronavirus, Infections In E. Africa Rise

By Keefa Nuwahereza

Uganda is on high alert for any suspected coronavirus case and as you read this, a tour guide was on Sunday quarantined in Kanungu after beings suspected of having contracted the deadly COVID-19.

According to Kanungu District Health Inspector the suspect (Names withheld on request) is a tour guide and resident of Kameme in Kihihi Sub-county, Kanungu District.

The Suspected patient is reported to have started feeling unwell on March 11th 2020 but reported himself to the facility on Saturday March 14th, 2020.

The Kanungu Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Hajji Shaffique Ssekandi revealed reporter that he had heard some information about the case and referred the reporter to Kato Besisira, the District Health Inspector.

On being contacted, Besisira, who is also the Kanungu District Senior Environmental Health Officer, said that “The Patient, who is now in Isolation Unit, reported to the facility with chest pain, flue, cough and colds which are similar to  Coronavirus symptoms.”

He added that “On arrival, the Patient was immediately isolated at the facility under supervision of the Health Unit In-charge and other facility staff.”

Besisira also revealed that the Tour guide had confided in medics that in the past two weeks he had been travelling with Canadian tourists who might have infected him.

“We have already communicated with Medical Teams International in Matanda and the Ministry of Health about the case and we are sending his blood samples to Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe on Sunday March 15th 2020 to confirm the tests,” Besisira noted.

Uganda stands at a high risk of contracting the scourge (COVID-19) after her neighbors Kenya, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan confirmed their first cases of corona virus, which broke out in Wuhan city, China, in December 2019.

Meanwhile, Kenya has unveiled a series of strict measures to curb coronavirus on Sunday, blocking entry into the country to all except citizens and other residents, plus shutting down schools after the number of confirmed cases rose to three.

As cases also mounted in Ethiopia and the Seychelles, countries across the region are taking action, blocking flights and banning mass gatherings.

In an address to the nation, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said two people who had come into contact with a 27-year-old Kenyan patient “have tested positive” and been moved into an isolation facility.

“The government is suspending travel for all persons coming into Kenya from any country with reported Coronavirus cases,” he said.

He added that “Only Kenyan citizens and foreigners with valid resident permits will be allowed to come into the country provided they proceed on self-quarantine or in a government quarantine facility.”

Kenyatta said the new measures would come into effect in the next 48 hours and remain in place for 14 days.

Every foreigner who has entered the country in the past 14 days has been ordered to self-quarantine.

In addition from Monday, all primary and secondary schools are to close, with boarding schools and universities to shut by the end of the week. All companies have been urged to allow their employees to work from home.

Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said the two new patients had sat next to the first confirmed case as she travelled back from the United States via London.

One is Kenyan and the other holds dual Kenyan-British nationality.

Meanwhile, Rwanda has also since announced a blockade to all foreigners  and suspended school programmes following  a Coronavirus outbreak in the country,  which is one of Uganda’s closes neighbours.

Rwanda has also shut down churches for two weeks and banned concerts and other large gatherings. Its national airline Rwandair has cancelled its flights to India, Israel and China.

The Belgian embassy in Rwanda announced in a statement that it is suspending operations, as the Indian man who tested positive had attended a meeting there.

South Sudan’s health ministry said last week it was “temporarily suspending direct flights between South Sudan and all affected countries” after registering cases of Coronavirus.

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