Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health is going to release 200 people who have been undergoing institutional quarantine this week. These are part of the 1,015 people that have been under institutional quarantine at centres located in Kampala and Wakiso districts.
According to the health ministry, the release of the first batch of 28 people should have taken place on Monday, March 30, 2020. However, Atek Kagirita, the COVID-19 incidence manager at the Ministry of Health says that the government is going to delay the release of people to ensure that they free from the deadly virus.
“New science shows that some people might be silent incubators. So all the people who finished 14-days will have to undergo a thorough examination to make sure that no one leaves quarantine when they have the disease,” Kagirita said.
Reports indicate that the disease can incubate for more than 14 days. Previously, research had shown that the incubation period of the disease is 14 days and that infected persons start showing symptoms between 2-14 days of being infected. However, cases reported in Hubei, China and other studies have shown that the incubation of the disease can last for up to 19 or even 27 days in some cases.
According to Kagirita, the 200 people will all be tested for COVID-19. Once they test negative, they will be presented with certificates that show that they have completed their quarantine and are safe from the disease. They will also go through counselling and transported by the Ministry of Health to their homes.
“When these people come back to society, treat them like any ordinary people. They are not sick. They don’t have COVID-19 and that is why they are being released. But even if they had the disease, the disease is curable,” Kagirita says in an appeal to communities not to stigmatise released persons.
The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng says that all the people being released will in addition have to undergo a 14 day self-isolation period once home.
Meanwhile, the health ministry is still following up 695 people who are believed to have been in contact with the people under quarantine. So far, Uganda has confirmed 44 cases of COVID-19. Of these, 36 were undergoing quarantine at institutional centres.
The release of the 200 people comes days after Kenya released two of its confirmed cases that completed treatment. Uganda has not yet reported any cured cases.