KAMPALA - "I got so pained when the surveillance officers said they went to check on a very high-level person who was quarantined and found him at a shopping mall. How much do we have to talk for people to understand the gravity of the matter?" said health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng.
Uganda has not recorded a single case of COVID 19 but experts maintain a high level of vigilance, with screening procedures at all the country's entry points.
Aceng, however, Thursday expressed displeasure at some of the so-called ‘big' people who are making work hard for the health workers meant to enforce the ministry's control measures on COVID 19 infection, amidst a growing number of cases across the globe.
"When some business people come to the airport, they do not want to be screened. They claim that the health workers are touching them with dirty gloves and threat them with, the do you know who I am talk," she added.
Last week, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, ordered Kilak North County MP Anthony Akol to vacate the chambers after the legislator disclosed to the House that he had just returned from South Africa and South Korea, one of the high-risk countries for the coronavirus.
"You admitted to the Hansard that you travelled to these places. Please go and self-quarantine yourself," Kadaga said.
The minister said some people have resorted to flying to neighbouring countries like Kenya and Rwanda and coming to Uganda by road to avoid being quarantined at Entebbe airport. This, she said also put the country in danger.
Aceng called upon the public to adhere to the rules saying following guidelines was the only way to fight COVID-19. "Let us come together and do this for ourselves. It is a united front and battle for us to ensure that we are well protected."
She made these remarks during a corporate sector discussion on Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Kampala Serena Hotel yesterday.
Several corporate entities convened to lay strategies on how to complement the health ministry's efforts in combating the disease and to device stringent mechanisms, should the virus cross over to the country.
The government announced a temporary halt to all international conferences scheduled to take place in the country, to minimize the risk of importation of coronavirus. This is because the country remains at high risk of importation of COVID-19 from the affected countries, with travel being one of the potential modes of spread.
On hotels, losing business to due lack of customers, Aceng advised that they explore the possibility of trading their hotels as quarantine areas.
Thursday, several vehicles were seen ferrying people of different nationalities from Entebbe International Airport into Central Inn Hotel to begin the mandatory 14-days quarantine.
Most of them wore face masks. Some UN vehicles were also packed around the hotel.
Our reporter was told by the security guards that he could only be allowed in if he was ready to spend 14 days inside the facility at his cost.
"If you insist on entering, we shall allow you as long as you are ready to stay inside for the next 14 days and at your cost," a police officer manning the entrance, said.