The Ugandan government has announced that the country is now in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic after the number of infections increased by 81 per cent between March and April.
The government has warned of tough containment measures, including a possible total lockdown, if the situation gets out of hand.
While addressing journalists at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Kampala Wednesday evening, Dr Misaki Wayengera, the chairperson of the ministerial scientific advisory committee, said the second wave is going to be more severe and the country could experience what is happening in India.
“The pandemic often starts slowly with a lag phase and then there is a rapid phase, and finally we hit a stationary phase. We are in the second wave of the pandemic, only that we are in the lag phase,” Dr Wayengera said.
He added: “We might hit a point where infections rapidly go up as it happened in India. Unfortunately, given that we have active transmission going on in the communities, this might be the same thing that will happen to us.”
Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said the resurgence is presenting itself with rising cases of infections among children.
“We have started to experience a significant increase in cases of Covid-19 among the 10-29 age group. We registered a 12 per cent increase in cases among children aged 10-19 years and a 5 per cent increase in those aged 20-29,” she told journalists.
The government announced last week that besides the Indian strain, the country had also registered four other strains including the Ugandan, Nigerian, South African and UK variants.
Dr Aceng said some of the districts hit most by Covid-19 clusters of community infections are Kiryandongo, Adjumani, Soroti, Oyam, Gulu and Jinja.
“The emergence of the cases in Jinja is attributed to a cluster of individuals working in a factory in Buikwe District, one of whom recently arrived from India, and four being close contacts,” she said.
The affected individuals are being isolated at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital, according to the minister.
Total reported cases
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, a total of 42,102 cases of infections had been reported in the country as of Wednesday.
Dr Aceng said they are increasing the efforts to prevent importation of Covid-19 variants.
The Ugandan government suspended flights originating from India effective May 1 to shield the country from a second wave of the pandemic.
“The Ministry of Health has identified five laboratories with the ability to test 5,000 samples per day (at $65 (USh231,470)) and tasked them to set up testing points in Entebbe town to test incoming travellers from category 1 and 2 countries,” she said.
Dr Tegegn Woldermariam, the World Health Organization’s country representative, asked Ugandans to go for Covid-19 vaccinations to protect themselves from severe illness and avoid causing emergence of new variants which tend to occur in populations where people are not vaccinated.