The country then recorded 14,073 cases, in the first fortnight of the lockdown, a figure which was halved to 7,122 cases in the second fortnight, and further to 3,308 cases in the last fortnight of the lockdown. Overall, between June 1 and July 29, Uganda recorded 46,135 news cases according to an analysis of the John Hopkins University coronavirus data tracker.
There are increased calls for reopening the country although the
COVID-19 situation remains alarming, with more deaths and a relatively
high number of infections, after a 42-day lockdown instituted in June.
Medical experts say that the lockdown was instituted based on science in
consideration of the 14-days incubation period for the SARS-COV-2, the virus
that causes COVID-19. Dr Chris
Baryomunsi, a Public Health Specialist and Minister for Information
the thinking was that by day 42, whoever was infected had presented
symptoms and received treatment or their immune system cleared the virus
and have recovered.
According to data by the Ministry of
Health, Uganda had a daily average of 1,000
cases at the time of
the lockdown on June 18. The country then recorded 14,073 cases, in the
first fortnight of the lockdown, a figure which was halved to 7,122
cases in the second fortnight, and further to 3,308 cases in the last
fortnight of the lockdown. Overall, between June 1 and July 29, Uganda
recorded 46,135 news cases according to an analysis of the John Hopkins University
coronavirus data tracker.
Baryomunsi, a former State Minister for Health says that within just less than two weeks after the lockdown which is an
extreme social distancing measure, they started seeing hospital space being
freed yet the country had been overwhelmed. The positivity rate which was averaging at the highs of 18 per cent
at the time of the lockdown also went down to 10 per cent.
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However, while infection rates have tremendously reduced,
death figures haven’t changed much. Uganda registered 747 coronavirus deaths in June,
which is 67 per cent of the total deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic. When
it comes to July, so far 683 deaths have been recorded, according to data of up
to July 27.
Latest Ministry of Health figures from tests
conducted on July 28, 2021, show that another 29 new people succumbed bringing the number of deaths to 2,661. 620 people
were still reported to be admitted in hospitals across the country.
Also, while Uganda has registered 11,200 positive cases in
the month of July from 113,053 tests done which translate to a positivity rate
of 9.9 per cent, the average positivity rate through the 42-days of the lockdown remains
high at 15.8 per cent. Epidemiologists say that for a country to control infection, the desirable
positivity rate ought to be 5 per cent or below.
But, Dr Ian Clarke, a physician and Chairman of Uganda
Healthcare Federation (UHF) says that lockdowns are
not the magic to ending infection as the country can quickly return to crisis
levels if reopening is not done systematically in a phased way in addition to availing
the public with appropriate preventive messages.
He adds that if the lockdown is extended, the country may
not recover from the economic deep that is already being experienced, adding that even now as the country is finalizing the
42-day lockdown, there are still opportunities for the virus to spread in areas
like markets, and advises the government to prioritize vaccination.
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His view is shared by the Uganda Medical Association
(UMA). Warning that the infection control
achievements attained in this lockdown can instantly be undone, the
association president Dr Richard Idro says the country could be hit badly by
the third wave in a month or two if government repeats the blunders made in the
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Both experts call for quick immunization of a reasonable of
Ugandans. But, the country has only vaccinated 1.1 million doses of the
21.9 million Ugandans targeted and worse just a fraction have received both
doses. The medical association now asks the Ministry of Health to
make the acquisition of more doses their single most important job if they are to
cut down the number of deaths.