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Uganda sends home 22 foreigners over coronavirus fears

Tuesday March 10 2020
entebbe

Travellers are screened for Covid-19 at Entebbe International Airport, Uganda, on March 8, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY via DAILY MONITOR

By DAILY MONITOR

Uganda’s ministry of health on Sunday said at least 22 foreign nationals would return to their home countries amid rising fears over the growing coronavirus epidemic.

Uganda, which is hosting the Uganda–Europe Business forum starting Monday, said those sent back were unwilling to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

“Yesterday, we received 22 passengers from the Category 1 countries who were identified by our health workers at the airport. None of them exhibited signs and symptoms of Covid-19. We informed them about our procedure of self-quarantine for 14 days. However, they were not willing to undergo this self-quarantine. Today, they will return to their home countries,” Minister of Health Dr Ruth Aceng said on Sunday.

Currently, Uganda has no confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19.

Uganda’s move came just hours after a German tourist died on Sunday of the novel coronavirus in eastern Egypt, the first death from the epidemic recorded in Africa.

"The 60-year-old German citizen showed symptoms of a fever (and) checked into Hurghada hospital on 6 March before testing positive for Covid-19," Egypt’s health ministry said in a statement.

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The tourist, who arrived from Germany a week ago, died after refusing to be transferred to an isolation ward.

On Saturday, the health ministry announced 45 suspected cases of Egyptians and foreigners contracting the virus aboard a Nile cruise ship.

The boat was carrying 171 people -- 101 foreigners and 70 Egyptian crew -- Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli told reporters.

Besides the cruise ship cases, Egypt has detected three cases of the virus, the first of which was announced on February 14.

The health ministry said last week that the first patient, a Chinese national, recovered and has been released.

The other two cases, a Canadian working in an oil company and an Egyptian who returned from Serbia through France, were still undergoing treatment.

Other countries, including France, have announced that six travellers returning from Egypt had tested positive for the virus.

The number of coronavirus cases has risen worldwide to more than 100,000 across 100 nations and territories, with around 3,800 dead.

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