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COVID-19 kills 3 more in Kampala as police arrest Gulu pastor

The Uganda Red Cross Society SDB team conducting a COVID-19 burial recently

The Uganda Red Cross Society SDB team conducting a COVID-19 burial recently

Three more Ugandans have succumbed to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to the ministry of Health, the new deaths were registered in Kampala city, raising the country’s total deaths to 55. Details of the deceased have not been released by the ministry.

A further 96 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed from the 3,350 samples tested on Saturday. Uganda’s cumulative total confirmed cases now stand at 4,799. Also, 258 patients recovered and were discharged from different hospitals across the country.

Pastor arrested

Police in Gulu on Sunday morning stormed a church and arrested 50 believers and a pastor for conducting illegal prayers. Kenneth Cupu of Grace Church of Christ in Gulu West Division was found in the church leading a team of more than 50 people in prayer, contrary to the ministry of Health guidelines that banned large congregations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region police spokesperson said the police stormed the place of worship after a tip-off and found Cupu and others congregating, in total disregard of the guidelines.

He said there was no social distancing and the crowd was bigger than what is accepted and many of the congregants had no face masks. Okema said they were immediately arrested and taken to Gulu Central police station and charged for defying COVID-19 directives and promoting a negligent act likely to spread infectious disease, contrary to public health laws.

Okema also warned other places of worship against conducting illegal prayers saying the government has not yet made any formal communication about the opening of places of worship.

Places of worship like schools have been closed since March, a measure taken to forestall the spread of coronavirus disease.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd