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Friday,November 27,2020 22:57 PM

Two arcades record COVID-19 cases

By Cecilia Okoth

Added 15th August 2020 08:55 AM

Manisur Matovu popularly known as Yanga, the owner of Namaganda Plaza said he had not been informed about the case. “Why is the health ministry telling you (journalist)? Are you the owner of the plaza?” he asked.

Two arcades record COVID-19  cases

Health minister Ruth Aceng and Kampala minister Betty Amongi

Manisur Matovu popularly known as Yanga, the owner of Namaganda Plaza said he had not been informed about the case. “Why is the health ministry telling you (journalist)? Are you the owner of the plaza?” he asked.

Two arcades in Kampala are the latest premises to record COVID-19 cases.

Namaganda Plaza and Galilaaya Plaza located on Dastur and William streets respectively have each registered a case of COVID-19, according to the Minister for Kampala, Betty Amongi.

This follows clusters of community infections also known as local transmissions and deaths that have mostly occurred in the Kampala metropolitan area.

When Uganda registered its first COVID-19 case on March 21, the Government closed places where large numbers of people gathered.

These included schools, places of worship, public and private transport, shopping malls and arcades, among others.

Business facilities like shopping arcades were some of the premises that were recently reopened provided they met the standard operating procedures (SOPs), such as having temperature guns, handwashing facilities and observing social distancing within the shops.

Speaking during a joint press briefing with the health ministry, Amongi said when the lockdown was eased on July 21, the cases of COVID-19 in Kampala increased by 50%.

NON-COMPLIANCE

This, she said, was mainly due to the public's non-compliance with the safety measures.

Amongi said the hotspots for COVID-19 infections in Kampala include workplaces, shopping arcades, public transport (taxis and bodabodas) and slums like Kisenyi and Ndeeba, which are densely populated.

Amongi said Kampala surveillance teams also recorded another case of an aspiring politician who had gone to one of the shops on Nkrumah Road to print his campaign posters.

The man voluntarily tested for COVID-19. He was informed of the results while travelling back home in a taxi.

POSSIBLE CLOSURE

Amongi said surveillance teams are studying the situation to see whether or not to close the two arcades. "The non-compliance which we see daily is worrying.

We are going to scale up enforcement to ensure that people adhere to the measures.

We shall not entertain any excuses, such as people not wanting to wear face masks, because they have been distributed in Kampala," she said.

Manisur Matovu popularly known as Yanga, the owner of Namaganda Plaza said he had not been informed about the case. "Why is the health ministry telling you (journalist)? Are you the owner of the plaza?" he asked.

Asked what measures he would put in place to avert more cases and possible closure of the shopping complex, Yanga said: "They close it on what deal? I have not heard of it.

Definitely every person who gets the coronavirus has where they stay and work. Are they going to close the whole world because of the coronavirus?" 

Tom Kitandwe, the owner of Galilaaya Plaza, said he would augment the preventive measures in all his arcades following the development.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Amongi said it has become difficult to trace people who use taxis and bodabodas given the many routes they ply a day.

She added that many suspected cases in Kampala first present in private health facilities. These, she said, are first treated for other ailments and are only suspected to be COVID-19 cases when their conditions deteriorate.

STATUS REPORT

The cumulative number of confirmed cases in Uganda is 1,353. These include 183 returnees from abroad, 557 contacts and alerts, 574 truck drivers and 39 health workers.

The total number of recoveries is 1,311, whereas active cases admitted in 12 health facilities are 190. The Ministry of Health yesterday reported two new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 11.

The two fatalities are residents of Kampala metropolitan area, a 60-year-old male of Indian origin who was first admitted at International Hospital Kampala and later passed away at Mulago.

The other is a 55-year-old Ugandan male who passed on while admitted in Intensive Care Unit at Mulago Hospital. Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said 56 of the positive cases in Kampala have been imported while 104 are from community transmissions.

A total of 19 cases have been recorded in Kampala in just two weeks.

Aceng said this implies that the city is to continue seeing the number of cases going up. "It is important to note that of all the 11 deaths so far reported nationally, eight are from Kampala alone.

More so, all were identified from unknown transmission lines. It is possible that with the phased lifting of the lockdown, the virus may have been imported into Kampala and it appears to have spread among communities in the city."

"This, in essence signals tougher times ahead and thus a much deeper need for compliance with the presidential directives, the health ministry standard operating procedures and the statutory instruments in place in view of this public health threat," Aceng said.

MUSEVENI WARNS POLITICIANS

President Yoweri Museveni spoke in Busoga about the COVID-19 situation in the country, warning political leaders to ensure the safety of the electorate.

"Political leaders, if you care about the people, do not endanger them. Do not encourage people to gather in crowds," he said, adding that the main enemy in the COVID-19 fight were the crowds.

"This is a sickness which can be fought if we are careful. Avoid gatherings, wear masks, do not touch your soft parts or greet people or be near anybody who has got something like flu," Museveni cautioned.

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