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Health Ministry declines to lift lockdown in Gulu

FILE PHOTO: Gulu town

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health has declined to honor request by the district taskforce to lift the lockdown in Gulu in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Wednesday, police backed by the military started enforcing travel restrictions blocking private and public vehicles entering or leaving Gulu district. The Resident District Commissioner Maj. Santo Okot Lapolo made the order.

The restrictions followed President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s directives during the televised address on Monday imposing 14 days’ lockdown on eight districts with evidence of community COVID-19 high risk characteristics.

According to the President, the districts with potential cluster of infections still under surveillance include; Adjumani, Amuru, Arua, Buikwe, Kyankwanzi, Kyotera, Luweero, Nebbi, Moyo and Tororo.

However, on Wednesday Gulu taskforce through the district LC 5 chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, wrote to the National Taskforce through Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health to review the decision of locking down Gulu.

In his letter, Mapenduzi cited only four community infection cases of the contagion in the district who are undergoing treatment. He also argued that all the contacts of the patients have been traced by the surveillance team and put under mandatory institutional and self-quarantine.

But in her response letter dated 24th June, Dr. Aceng said the district will remain under lockdown. She cited the case of a 23-year-old male who tested positive at Laroo health centre and is hospitalized at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital treatment unit.

“His contacts in Gulu are still under routine follow up till 29th June with potential to convert either COVID-19 positive or negative.” Dr. Aceng’s letter partly read. Adding that, “Therefore a decision to unlock your district will be taken after 29th June, 2020.”

Dr. Aceng also lauded the district taskforce for vigilance, commitment and successfully managing many COVID-19 cases and other response activities. She further urged the leaders to inform the population accordingly.

Up to 75 cumulative patients for COVID-19 have been discharged from the treatment centre at Gulu Regional Regional Referral Hospital since April. However, currently there are 43 active cases still under going treatment at the facility.



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