KAMPALA - Security operatives together with health ministry teams are hunting for suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) carriers who fled to six districts across the country, authorities have revealed.
The operations come after the Government Wednesday established the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force (JTF) at the national and regional level to support the health ministry in combatting COVID 19.
The JTF comprises personnel from the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), Police and Uganda Prisons Services. Others are National Joint Intelligence Committee, Directorate of Citizenship and Immigrations Control and Customs.
JTF is headed by UPDF's deputy chief of Defence Forces, Lt. Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi and the Chief of Staff Land Forces, Maj. Gen. Leopold Kyanda.
JTF Wednesday deployed surveillance security teams in Masaka, Lira, Mityana, Mbarara, Hoima and Zombo districts, according to Police spokesperson Fred Enanga.
In an operation in Zombo, security operatives last week arrested six Chinese nationals who had allegedly escaped from self-quarantine at a hotel in Kampala last Thursday.
It is reported that the group attempted to cross into DR Congo. Police has since slapped charges of carrying out an act likely to spread infection of disease, against the six Chinese men.
Two Ugandans who allegedly were helping the six Chinese men to escape without completing the mandatory 14 days self-quarantine were also arrested.
The health ministry Wednesday revealed that two of the six Chinese tested positive for COVID-19.
So far, the army and Police have sent to 240 medical personnel to support the health ministry.
Of these, 40 have already been deployed at Entebbe Grade B and Mulago hospitals.
The task force, Enanga said, will monitor and ensure compliance with the measures issued by President Yoweri Museveni and the health ministry on the prevention and control of the spread of coronavirus.
"Security forces have already deployed to ensure observance of mandatory quarantine, guidelines at non-agricultural workplaces and when using public transport," Enanga said.
"The forces are also ensuring compliance with the closure of educational institutions, merrymaking venues, monthly markets, national borders and the ban on gatherings with more than 10 people," he added.
Enanga said the JTF will also offer evacuation support to the health ministry for suspected COVID-19 cases.
Other security threats
The Police spokesperson said the JTF will monitor the security situation to avert possible opportunistic criminal cases and ensure the uninterrupted provision of vital services.
He urged the public to report cases of non-compliance to the nearest Police or UPDF establishments on telephone numbers; 0800300100 (toll-free) and +256713250391, +256753997665 as well as +256714012734.
The public can also contact the JTF to report suspected COVID-19 cases for immediate evacuation to health ministry-designated treatment facilities.
The ministry's contacts are +256772831993, +256772510522 and +256772354011.
In his recent addresses to the nation, President Museveni advised persons with COVID-19 symptoms to report for testing at any health facility.
"The central testing centre is in Entebbe, but there are 100 hubs (or testing centres). If you want to check, go to the nearby health centre III, they will guide you," he said.