Health Ministry prepared to fight deadly coronavirus - National | NTV

Health Ministry prepared to fight deadly coronavirus

By JOSEPH TUMWESIGYE

Wednesday January 29, 2020

Medical staff wearing protective clothing to protect against a previously unknown coronavirus arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, China  (AFP Picture) 

The Ministry of Health has on Wednesday released a statement on Uganda’s risk situation and preparedness following the outbreak of the Coronavirus in China. The statement outlines measures that have been implemented and guidelines to be followed in case the Virus makes its way to China.

Among other measures, the Ministry of health has advised that Ugandans must frequently clean their hands with alcohol-based sanitising product, avoid crowded areas, avoid anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illnesses like coughing and sneezing and to seek medical help in case any symptoms of the virus are shown.

The Ministry has declared that it has already activated a National Task force to coordinate preparedness and response activities. This also involves intensified surveillance at points of entry especially the international Airport in Entebbe. Medical teams doing screening are also at these points of entry and airport staff has been sensitised on how to handle the threat.

The government has also met with the Ambassador from China and a medical team provided by his institution which has assured Ugandans of very strict measures put in place to minimise the risk of the outbreak.

The Chinese Embassy has asked their community with interests in Uganda to delay their travel or return to Uganda until the situation in China is fully under control. The Chinese outside the country have also been asked to stay in self-isolation for two weeks in case they have to come to Uganda.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

As of 28th January 2020, 4,593 cases have been confirmed worldwide. 106 deaths have been reported in China alone while 56 other cases in 14 other countries.

In Africa, suspected cases have been reported in Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Kenya. The Kenyan situation was ruled out but the patient is still in isolation for good measure.