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Elegu border records sharp rise in Covid-19 cases

A health worker takes a sample from a truck driver undergoing a test for COVID-19 at Elegu border. File Photo

Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Elegu port health in Amuru district has recorded a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 positive cases among travelers being tested at the Uganda South Sudan border.

Last month, out of the 2,594 samples tested by the health team, 92 people mostly travelers and long-distance truck drivers turned positive compared to 35 out of 2,478 samples tested in August.

In July, out of 1,386 samples, 32 turned out positive compared to the month of June when President Yoweri Museveni declared a second lockdown due to surging infections, where the border recorded 103 cases from 2,604 samples.

The latest pandemic report, a copy of which URN got from the in-charge of the port health, Robert Onekalit, between 17 April and 30 September 2021, up to 48,747 samples were tested out of which 1,128 results turned positive and no death was registered.

According to the report, only 28 contacts from 103 cases recorded in June were traced, but contact tracing for the months of July, August and September were impossible due to the mobile nature of the border community.

Dr Patrick Odong Olwedo, the District Health Officer decried the inadequate number of health staff to support the Port Health.

The District LC 5 Chairperson Michael Lakony also observed that the Port Health is being managed by seven health personnel who were seconded from other health centres in the district, leaving further vacuum in the regular health service delivery.

Amuru District Task Force Chairperson, Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, who is also the Resident District Commissioner says they need to engage the Central Government to mobilize more resources that can support their efforts to deal with immediate border health needs.

The leaders also pointed out that the increase of infections at the border town is being compounded by the influx of long-distance truck drivers en-route to South Sudan.

For instance, last month, over 6,000 truckers congested Elegu, and mixed freely with the community when they parked their fleets for 16 days to protest insecurity along Nimule-Juba highway which had resulted in the death of four foreign truck drivers.

Overall, available statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that Uganda has so far recorded a cumulative of 123,445 confirmed cases of the pandemic, and 3,152 deaths since March 2020 to date.

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