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Uganda Mulls Second Lockdown As Virus Cases Surge Again

Mulago National Referral Hospital and other facilities across the country are currently packed, and positivity rate has jumped from 1.5 per cent in April to 7.8 per cent as of yesterday.

The Ugandan government is considering a second Covid-19 lockdown to manage a sharp increase in new infections.

Health officials in the East African country say more contagious variants of the virus, especially from India, Nigeria, the UK and South Africa, are to blame for the increase in new cases.

Mulago National Referral Hospital and other facilities across the country are currently packed, and positivity rate has jumped from 1.5 per cent in April to 7.8 per cent as of yesterday.

Also, Entebbe Regional Referral hospital which is adjacent to the country’s main airport terminal has reportedly run out of space for COVID-19 patients. Previously ringfenced for Covid, the hospital opened to the general public last month, with 50-bed private medical wing for COVID-19 patients and suspects.

The hospital management however says the wing if full beyond capacity.

Uganda, which according to medical experts is now under the second wave spread is experiencing an increased number of COVID-19 cases.

Dr Diana Atwine of the health ministry said “some areas must be locked down unless people get back to observing SOPs (standard operating procedures)”.

“Otherwise, our systems will be overwhelmed and we shall see scenarios we have been seeing in some countries,” she said.

Critics, however, say the government is partly to blame for the high number of cases after it relaxed measures against the virus after January’s general election.

The National Isolation Centre, less than 2 kilometres from Entebbe hospital has been undergoing renovation since October 2019 and expected to be re-opened by end of this month.

Uganda’s total confirmed cases stand at 44,594, with 361 deaths.

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Phillip Mwebaza

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