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Ugandan students safe in China- MOH

The WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus greets Minister of Health Dr. Jane Aceng as Dr. Yonas Woldermariam looks on at a meeting in Kampala, Uganda

Kampala, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT |  Government has said that Ugandan students living in Wuhan city, China are safe from the coronavirus. 

This was carried in a statement by the Minister of Health Dr Jane Aceng to parliament concerning the plight of Ugandan students in Wuhan China where the Corona Virus epidemic broke out. 

Earlier this week, Parliament called for evacuation of the students who they said are starving due to lack of food. 

In her statement to Parliament on Thursday, Aceng said that Ministry of Finance and that of Foreign Affairs were to remit US Dollars 61,800 to the students to support them as the government monitors the situation. 

According to government, Uganda has about 105 students in Wuhan city universities and out of these, 65 are known government-sponsored students while 40 are on private sponsorship. 

“The Mission in Beijing is in contact with the students on daily basis through a Whatsapp group called WeChat. The officer designated to follow them up is called Amb. Phillip Kanyoonzi. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also has contacts of the next of kin of these students. No Ugandan student in Wuhan has yet contracted the disease,” Dr Aceng reported. 

She added that during government officials discussion with the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, there was a reassurance that the Chinese Government would take care of Ugandan students in the University halls by providing them food while those outside the university will be procured food.

Parliament also learnt that the ministry of Information, Communication and Technology was to explore a possibility of creating a toll-free number where the students can directly call and that government was also making arrangements of meeting parents of the affected students.

Aceng said that they are to continue exploring the possibility of repatriating the students and the country’s capacity to handle the outbreak.

The Minister said that Uganda has no capacity to handle the outbreak of Corona Virus and that it is still overwhelmed by previous outbreaks like Ebola. 

Dr Aceng confirmed to parliament that Uganda has not confirmed any case of the 2019- novel Corona Virus. She, however, said that the risk of its importation into the county is still very high due to the rapid spread of the virus. 

“Uganda is a major trading partner with China. May Ugandans travel to China for Trade, Education and Tourism. There are also many Chinese nationals who come to Uganda for construction, business and tourism. Uganda also has links with the other 24 coronavirus affected countries,” said Aceng. 

She said that the Ministry of Health remains on high alert to identify any person who may develop signs and symptoms of the disease. 

265 travellers both Chinese and Ugandans travelling back to the Country have been isolated for purposes of follow up. Out of these, 166 are Chinese nationals while 99 are Ugandan citizens. 

Out of the 99 Ugandans, Aceng told parliament that 10 are students who were supported to return home by their parents.

She said that government has put up several measures saying that the Uganda Virus Research Institute has the necessary equipment and reagents to test the virus, developed information distributed to travellers, strengthened screening at Entebbe International Airport and others.

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