Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health is tracing more than 2000 travelers who are suspected to have been exposed to COVID-19 as they travelled to Uganda.
The travelers came from Dubai and other high risk countries before the government announced restrictions on travelers from countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
New research intimates that the incubation period of COVID-19 can last from 2-30 days in some cases. This means that travelers who entered Uganda between March 15 and 16 might be exposed to the disease. Uganda’s first advisory restricting travel was issued on March 17, 2020.
Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng says that the Ministry is planning to use the ongoing lockdown of the country to trace these travellers.
“Majority of the confirmed cases were detected at the airport. 13 might have interacted with locals and we have traced their contacts. We are now looking for other travelers who have not come forward,” Dr Aceng said.
According to Dr Aceng, the missing people have not responded to government’s call to go for testing and confirm their COVID-19 status. The travelers are being traced because there’s a fear that some travelers who might not have shown symptoms at the airport might be spreading the disease unknowingly.
Once found, the missing travelers will be examined and put under quarantine as they are being monitored.
Research shows that one infected person can spread the disease to 15 people on average. It is estimated that up to 100 people among the missing 2000 are positive.
Dr Monica Musenero, a consultant epidemiologist and Presidential adviser on COVID-19 says that they are going to work with security officers to locate these people.
“We have been working with airlines and we have a partial list of people who are missing. We have a plan. We are going to work with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, security officers and telephone companies so that we can get intouch with these people,” Dr Musenero said.
This will be the second active search of people carried out by the health ministry. Earlier calls led to identification of six of the confirmed cases.
The ministry has carried out over 1,785 tests of COVID-19. So far, at total of 48 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed.
The move to trace the travelers comes at a time when the world is experiencing an ever increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Yesterday, the number of infected persons surpassed the one million mark. As of today evening, the number had reached 1,076,017 infected persons.
In Africa, over 6000 cases have been recorded. South Sudan is the only country within the bloc that has not yet reported any confirmed cases.