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All Ugandan Ministers to be tested for COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Museveni talks to colleagues in cabinet in 2016. They will all be tested.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health has confirmed that all ministers who attend cabinet meetings will undergo COVID-19 testing before they can attend the weekly sessions.

This development comes on a day where the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda decided to self isolate, after some of his recent contacts tested positive for the CoronaVirus.

According to the health ministry, testing of the ministers begun yesterday and continued today at the office of the Prime Minister. On the first day of the exercise, a number of high profile officials reportedly tested positive for the virus and have started treatment. Their contacts, including the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda also went into self-isolation.

Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health says that the ministers are being tested because they are at high risk of contracting the disease since they come into close contact with many people. A total of 48 ministers will be tested every after two weeks.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the health ministry spokesperson says the ministers will be tested as part of a bigger plan to ensure that the government officials who interact with many people know their status.

The ministry has also been testing staff and journalists. The testing of high risk groups of people comes at a time when the number of confirmed cases in Uganda has risen to 557.

Uganda had suspended its high risk traveler testing because the health ministry says it was a waste of test kits. But Atwine says Uganda how has enough test kits and expecting over 100,000 test kits. Uganda uses the PCR test which cost USD 65 per test. Government is bound to spend over $5,200 on testing the ministers.

To date, 120,000 tests have been carried out. 23,000 of these tests where from the community picked during the just concluded Rapid Assessment survey and  around 12,000 were among high risk travelers. Majority of the testing has been carried out among truck drivers and their contacts.

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