KAMPALA: Panic has erupted in downtown after two Kampala arcades register COVID-19 cases.
Ms Betty Amongi, the Minister for Kampala Affairs, on Thursday said Namaganda and Galilaya arcades registered one case each, adding that scientists are studying the two shopping malls.
The two cases were through community alerts, and while tracing their contacts and where they worked, the patients indicated the arcades.
There has been a rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths in Kampala following the lifting of some of the lockdown restrictions. Ms Amongi said the hotspots in Kampala are arcades, public and private transport, workplaces, and slum areas.
“We have had 50 per cent increase in Kampala, workplaces are a major risk factor. Many of the people [using public transport] who are testing positive, have either moved in taxis or used boda bodas, and in this area, tracking has become very complicated because the same taxis usually take three or five routes in a day,” Ms Amongi said.
The minister added that a number of positive cases have been registered in slums areas such as Kisenyi, which are risky due to high population density yet there is still non-compliance with the guidelines.
Some of the workplaces that have registered positive cases include Eagle Holdings, Megha Industries and Toyota Uganda.
“We have also got one person who is an aspiring political candidate whom we got through alerts. He got in a taxi. When we traced the activities he was doing, he said he spent about two days on Nasser Road making posters,” Ms Amongi said.
Kampala had registered 104 Covid-19 cases as of yesterday with eight deaths, leaving it second to Amuru District, whose cases stand at 116.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, said over the past three weeks, there has been an emergence of cases largely from previously unknown transmission lines in Kampala and parts of Wakiso districts.
“Of the cases registered in Kampala, 56 are imported (55 returnees, one truck driver) while 104 are locally transmitted (35 contacts, 47 alerts, 20 health workers). In relation to the cases in Kampala, 79 cases have been reported in the last 14 days,” Dr Aceng said.
Ms Amogi said a comprehensive strategy for Kampala will be released next week, adding that enforcement will be scaled up.
Following the continued non-compliance with Covid-19 guidelines by the public, President Museveni has appointed a multi-sectoral technical taskforce to coordinate all sectors, institutions and organisations to follow up on enforcement of presidential directives.
This taskforce is chaired by Gen Geoffrey Muheesi from Uganda People’s Defence Force and he will be deputised by Dr Monica Musenero, the senior presidential adviser on epidemics, and Dr Ario Alex, the director of National Institute of Public Health.
Its mandate is to strengthen multi-sectoral coordination of Covid-19-related response activities and facilitate linkages across and between all sectors, coordinate multisectoral approach to safe and dignified burials (SBD) in close collaboration with Uganda Red Cross Society and support the districts to undertake SBD according to SOPs, among others.
At least 59 districts have registered Covid-19 cases, including Arua, Lamwo and Lira .
Uganda had registered 1,353 Covid-19 cases with 1,141 recoveries and 11 deaths by yesterday.