Uganda on Saturday reported its highest number of new COVID-19 infections in a single day after 423 new persons were confirmed positive from the 2,320 samples tested on Friday.
The total caseload in the country now stands at 6,017 from the 466,666 samples tested so far. According to the latest results released by the Health ministry on Saturday, Moroto, Kampala and Butaleja accounted for the highest number of cases with 166, 85 and 59 respectively. Two new deaths were also reported in Kampala and Mpigi bringing the number of reported deaths to 63.
About 100 cases were reported from the Moroto prison where at least 219 prisoners escaped with about 15 guns on Wednesday evening. In light of the increased cases, the Health ministry has re-echoed the cry for all Ugandans to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the disease.
Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng says that no one is safe anymore with the ongoing wide community spread. She says the responsibility has now shifted to individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones.
"Once you get to stage four which is where we’re with widespread community transmission, the response activity is mitigation. And as I mentioned before, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves, if you don’t protect yourself, you will get it. So everybody must be on alert and everybody must be committed to protecting themselves and their loved ones. The protective measures are known, government has over and over again reemphasized them and we need to adhere to that for now." said Aceng.
According to Aceng, the disease is now spreading in non-traditional groups. At the onset of the disease in March, Ugandan returnees were the source of infection. However, this later moved to truck drivers with over 650 them testing positive. Right now communities are the source of infection with Kampala having the most widespread cases.
Since the month of August, on average Uganda records 400 cases of COVID-19 every week. According to the ministry, 300 children aged 0-18 years have already contracted the virus. Due to increasing infections, the health ministry has resorted to opening auxiliary treatment centres to deal with the high numbers.
Earlier modelling carried out by scientists predicted that by October 2020, over 350,000 would have been infected with the virus if a national lockdown was not instituted.
Speaking to one of the dailies this week, Dr Monica Musenero, a senior presidential advisor on epidemics said that due to people's failure to observe public health measures of social distancing and wearing of face masks, Uganda's cases will surge even further.
She was quoted saying the projections they have now, show that over 40,000 cases will be reported by the end of the year. This figure is expected to go higher during the 2020/2021 political season.
Last week the Health ministry opened the Nambole treatment centre that has the capacity to hold 1,500 people. Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary at the Health ministry says that they are working towards controlling the disease.
"We are working towards managing the numbers. We are planning on opening other centres to do this. This does not mean we have lost the COVID-19 fight. We have not. We are still in control," said Atwine.