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No new cases as Mulago discharges all its coronavirus patients

For the second day running, Uganda recorded no new coronavirus cases on Tuesday after all the 2,400 samples tested negative for COVID-19.

The country also saw its COVID-19 recoveries rise to 52 after another 5 patients got discharged from Entebbe and Mulago hospitals. Mulago discharged its last two patients while Entebbe discharged another three patients who have clinically recovered from the disease after testing negative twice.  

Of Uganda's 79 confirmed coronavirus cases, 23 have come from truck drivers mostly from Kenya and Tanzania. With the truck drivers becoming the new carriers of coronavirus, ministry of Health has now imposed mandatory testing of all Ugandan officials at the border points in Busia, Mutukula and Malaba due to the high exposure they face while clearing cargo truck drivers. 

Clet Kakuru an epidemiologist at the ministry says the truck drivers interact with everybody from the clearing agents, clerical officers, customs and immigration officers. Now wearing protective gear including face masks and hand gloves has been made compulsory for all officers at the border.

While addressing the nation on Tuesday evening, President Yoweri Museveni ruled out stopping cargo truck drivers, saying Uganda's railway which would have been a better alternative, is not fully operational.

He said Ugandans have to swallow their anger and hostility towards truck drivers and start to use logic and reasoning because blocking trucks would mean Uganda can't also export its coffee, cotton or sugar.

A truck being disinfected at the Uganda-DRC border in Bunagana 

He said the government is in talks with the European Union (EU) to fund the revival the old railway line and China on building a new railway line that would ease the flow of goods in and out of Uganda.

Blocking trucks at the moment is not only suicidal, but also unnecessary, said Museveni. He said East African presidents had agreed that truck drivers needed common control measures and that Uganda now only allows one person per truck to enter the country. 

Meanwhile, Kenya’s coronavirus cases rose to 374 after 11 new cases were registered on Tuesday. Rwanda registered 5 new cases while no new data is coming out of Tanzania for nearly a week now.

Zanzibar though reported 7 new cases on Tuesday but officially, Tanzania’s cases still stand at 299 after they were not registered by the government.

Tanzanians have taken to social media to accuse their government of covering up coronavirus cases and the devastating effects it is taking on the population. They have posted videos of purported coronavirus victims being buried in the dead of the night by government officials and a few relatives. Tanzania's official coronavirus death toll stands at 10 deaths with 48 recoveries. 

President John Pombe Magufuli has come under heavy criticism from his own countrymen, the World Health Organisation and the international community for his lax response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Public transport and markets in Tanzania and Burundi continue to operate normally as the pre-coronavirus outbreak period. The president has been encouraging Tanzanians to continue congregating in churches and mosques to pray for God's intervention against the 'satanic' COVID-19. At the moment, Magufuli seems to be focusing most of his efforts on silencing journalists and media houses that criticise his response efforts.

Licenses for some journalists and media houses have been revoked and cable TV operators, Multichoice, Azam and StarTimes have been fined about Shs 8 million and ordered to apologise for a week for having aired Citizen TV’s criticism of his measures or lack of.

Citizen TV and radio were ordered to pay a fine of Shs 8 million equivalent and issue a non-recorded apology for every hour, denouncing their earlier bulletins on Tanzania's Covid-19 preventive plans. 

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