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Kitgum parents asked to isolate students

 

Thousands of students trying to find their way home from Kampala after schools were closed by President Museveni to curb further spread of Covid-19. PHOTO BY @canarymugume

Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parents in Kitgum district have been asked to isolate their children who returned from school pending a mass Covid-19 testing exercise.

The caution from medical workers and leaders comes just a day after 47 students out of 280 who were subjected to the RDT Covid-19 test conducted from Gulu University laboratory tested positive for the virus. The students had returned to Gulu from various learning institutions in Kampala following the closure of schools amidst an upsurge of the contagion.

William Komakech, Kitgum Resident District Commissioner told members of the district task force committee at a meeting on Thursday that students who returned home are now a high risk to the parents and community.

He says there is a need for parents and guardians of the students to ensure they are kept in isolation citing possibilities of exposure to the virus from school or bus terminals while waiting for transport means.

Komakech says the district is now preparing to conduct a mass Covid-19 test for the students but called on their parents to voluntarily send them since the district task force only has details of 27 students who returned on Wednesday.

The emergency testing will be conducted from Kitgum General Hospital and later extended to lower health centres in sub-counties.

Dr Geoffrey Okello, acting medical superintendent of Kitgum General Hospital says caution has to be undertaken to isolate the students since there have been reports that some school authorities deliberately concealed the outbreak of the virus. Dr Okello says the students are a risk factor and history of contacts that need to be undertaken through emergency Covid-19 testing.

Dr Okello says the hospital treatment unit has been revamped to handle emergency cases of covid-19, several months after it had been closed down.

Ventorino Otto, a parent of a student who returned from Kampala on Wednesday says the district task force has to subject students to tests following their exposure at bus terminals and schools.

Otto says his son is now in isolation at home but expressed concerns that he is traumatized.

He notes that the same situation could be affecting other students who returned home in the past two days after facing hurdles in getting transport means and further getting subjected to self-isolation.

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