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Kampala has a lot more COVID-19 cases than reported - US Embassy

Coronavirus patients being discharged from hospital

Coronavirus patients being discharged from hospital

The US Embassy in Uganda has warned Americans living and working in Uganda to take extra precaution because according to them, despite its early success, Uganda is now into a critical phase of the coronavirus pandemic. Until three weeks ago, Uganda had not registered any coronavirus deaths but as of today August 8, 2020, six deaths and total 1,267 cases cumulative cases with 1,115 recoveries have been recorded. Lately, community cases are on the rise as the government eases preventive lockdown measures and only 293,397 tests have been carried out. 

Below is a statement from Christopher Krafft, the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy. 

Dear fellow Americans:

I hope that each of you is well and staying safe. During this challenging time, I want to ensure you have the information that you need to stay up-to-date and make informed decisions.

Uganda has handled COVID-19 very well to date, but we are now entering a new phase of the outbreak. As many of you are aware, the Government of Uganda’s initial target for COVID-19 was to prevent, prevent, prevent, by closing the airport, testing people at borders, and quarantining travelers starting in March.

These quick and decisive actions succeeded in largely preventing importation of COVID-19 into Uganda for far longer than most countriesAfter that, the goal was to delay, delay, delay.

As more cases entered and a small number of unlinked cases were found, intensive efforts were put forth to trace nearly 100% of contacts of cases and stall the spread of the outbreak, buying valuable time to prepare the healthcare system for the inevitable influx of large number of patients.

Since June, the Government of Uganda has started to ease lockdown measures. We are now moving into an approach of manage, manage, manage (or, “flatten the curve”).

We know now that there are many asymptomatic cases for each symptomatic one, and many symptomatic cases for each person who dies with COVID-19 disease.

We have seen a handful of deaths in a very short time without seeing the increase in diagnosis of asymptomatic or symptomatic cases at the same time. What that means is that for each death you see on the news, there may be hundreds of infected persons linked to them who were never detected.

If those infected persons are not wearing a mask and socially distancing, which most people unfortunately are not, then they are out in public right now and may be infecting other people. COVID-19 is in Kampala – possibly a lot of it.

Please let me repeat. Kampala has a lot more cases of COVID-19 than are currently known. They won’t show up on the daily press releases because there are not enough test kits to do widespread community testing (although there are intense efforts underway to bridge that gap).

In this phase of the outbreak, we find out about clusters of patients when one gets sick enough to show up at a clinic, and that clinic knows to report that they have a possible case.

For each sick patient who shows up at a clinic, there are many more who may not get very sick, but who can still spread the virus to others. In the phase we are now in, we will continue to have a lot of cases out there that we just don’t know about. And it is not only Kampala. We’ve had “hotspots” of community transmission for several weeks now in other areas of the country, and will expect to see more.

This is not unexpected. We knew that community transmission (identification of cases unlinked to other known cases) would eventually begin, and Uganda would start the upward climb in cases that nearly every other country has seen. We are now there. 

If you were not paying attention before because it seemed there was no COVID-19 in your area, PAY ATTENTION NOW. People who are infected may show NO SYMPTOMS – meaning that you could be a carrier and you wouldn’t even know it – and still transmit the virus to other people. 

That vendor you interacted with yesterday? The one who had his mask around his neck instead of over his face while he chatted with you? He could have given you COVID-19, and you could infect everyone you talk to before you even realize it happened. As we go into the fifth month since the initial cases were introduced into Uganda, it is safest to simply assume that everyone you meet is infected

This is not a call to panic, but an encouragement to return to the behaviors that will keep us safe. In this phase of increasing community transmission, it is up to each of us to protect ourselves, follow the guidelines, and do our part.

Wear a mask whenever you go out of your house. If you are infected, cloth masks protect other people from you. Cloth masks do not protect you from other infected people. Because of this, masks only work if everyone is wearing them, and wearing them correctly over the nose and mouth, whether or not they have symptoms. 

Even outside, if you are standing close to a person who is talking directly at you, that can be enough to transmit the infection. Keep your distance and walk away from anyone who doesn’t want to put on a mask before they talk to you. Wear your mask always, but to protect yourself you must make sure that everyone around you wears their mask also. In this outbreak, each person must do their part to keep everyone safe.

Keep your hands clean. Carry a little bottle of soapy water if you don’t want to buy sanitizer–it’s cheap and the soap kills the virus very well. Don’t touch your mask a lot, and don’t touch your face until you’ve washed your hands.

Make sure everyone who lives in the same house as you also knows these important guidelines so they don’t bring the virus home to you and others in your household.

If you develop even a slight cough or a fever, if you realize you can’t seem to smell or taste things anymore, or otherwise feel like you might have symptoms of what folks call “flu,”  STAY HOME. When symptoms first start, you won’t be able to tell if what you have is COVID-19 or some other more normal cold or ‘flu’, so play it safe and stay home.

If you are feeling even a little sick, stay away from your family members as much as possible. Put a mask on even at home to protect others in your house.

Wash your hands a LOT and clean the surfaces in your house a lot.  If you feel any shortness of breath, or if your symptoms get worse, call the Ministry of Health on the toll free lines at 0800-100-066 or 0800-203-033 so they can direct you to the best location to receive care.

Stay safe out there. COVID-19 is spreading right here, right now – don’t let it be you. If we all stay home to the degree possible, stay distant, and make sure masks are being worn by everyone around us and our hands are clean, we WILL reduce the impact this outbreak will have on our families, our communities, and Uganda.

Thank you all,
Christopher Krafft
Charge d’Affaires
U.S. Embassy Kampala, Uganda


+1 #1 Lysol 2020-08-09 02:57
Those of us who from day one commented that the COVID-19 cases would rise, are now vindicated.

As always the real numbers of cases and deaths have been covered up by the corrupt regime for mere political reasons and to fool the rest of world.

Like the numbers of our deaths in Somali. and other countries.

The clueless one Aceng should be fired. She is only interested in politics and not in science.
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-5 #2 Wainaichi 2020-08-09 09:25
Thank you Mr Ambassador but Uganda is holding firmly and much much better than the United States.Why is that so?

Because Uganda government is unified in its protection of citizens while in the States politics and li al sheriffs run the show and are failing to protect its citizens.

Just the other day we read that Brasils Bolsanaro used hydrochloroquine and cured himself while millions if doses of hydrochloroquine languish in government medical stores.I would advise that you write about dear friend.
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+1 #3 Mandela 2020-08-09 11:47
There is more confirmed covid 19 cases in USA than in Uganda. If i were an American , I would be more scared of USA than Uganda.

As for now, it is safer to be in Uganda than in USA. Come on USA embassy!!!
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+3 #4 Lysol 2020-08-09 19:15
Quoting Mandela:
There is more confirmed covid 19 cases in USA than in Uganda. If i were an American , I would be more scared of USA than Uganda.

As for now, it is safer to be in Uganda than in USA. Come on USA embassy!!!

The US has 10 times the population and there are more testings than Uganda. it does not hide it's number of infections like Uganda, aside from the facts that the US has more population over 65 years old with underlying medical conditions, while Uganda has more younger population than those over 65.

Also many major cities in the US have their own China Towns..

You cannot compare an apple with an orange.
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-1 #5 Wainaichi 2020-08-10 00:48
@ Lysol-- I have to reply o this. Lysol surely you failed with mathematics miserably. Lest compare.Uganda over 40 millions of souls ,America 8 times more than Uganda.

Uganda has 8 or nine deaths ,America over 100.000 or so and millions of infected souls.Uganda merely over 1000 infected people and only after 5 months registering first Covid 19 fatalities.!!

Yes, reread this again sketch your dumb head and apologize now to meTo me dod you hear me???a
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+2 #6 Dickson 2020-08-10 05:37
Quoting Mandela:
There is more confirmed covid 19 cases in USA than in Uganda. If i were an American , I would be more scared of USA than Uganda.

As for now, it is safer to be in Uganda than in USA. Come on USA embassy!!!

The statement by the Ambassador is informative raising great behavioral issues that serves as a good reminder to not only US citizens but even us/Ugandans.

Simple and clear message, easily understood and I instead encourage that we take advantage of it!
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-1 #7 Amooti Mugi 2020-08-10 13:54
Quoting Mandela:
There is more confirmed covid 19 cases in USA than in Uganda. If i were an American , I would be more scared of USA than Uganda.

As for now, it is safer to be in Uganda than in USA. Come on USA embassy!!!

Mr.Mandela, when a person more intelligent and resouced than you , and even more truthful warns you of danger in front of you, you are a fool if you ignore the advice!!!

These Amerivan friends of Uganda are telling you that please be more careful by obeying the safety precautions given you by your government, you are continuing to ignore and later go to them to beg loans for a problem they told you before it became worse!
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