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All Ministers to be Tested for COVID-19

On the first day of the exercise, a number of high profile officials reportedly tested positive for the virus and have started treatment. Their contacts, including the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda also went into self-isolation.
All ministers, especially those who attend cabinet meetings, will undergo COVID-19 testing before they can attend the weekly sessions.

According to the health ministry, testing of the ministers begun yesterday and continued today at the office of the Prime Minister. On the first day of the exercise, a number of high profile officials reportedly tested positive for the virus and have started treatment. Their contacts, including the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, also went into self-isolation. 

Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health says that the ministers are being tested because they are at high risk of contracting the disease since they come into close contact with many people. A total of 48 ministers will be tested every two weeks. 

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Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the health ministry spokesperson says the ministers will be tested as part of a bigger plan to ensure that the government officials who interact with many people know their status.

The ministry has also been testing staff and journalists. The testing of high risk groups of people comes at a time when the number of confirmed cases in Uganda has risen to 557.

Uganda had suspended its high-risk traveller testing because the health ministry says it was a waste of test kits. But Atwine says Uganda how has enough test kits and expecting over 100,000 test kits. Uganda uses the PCR test which cost USD 65 per test. Government is bound to spend over USD  5,200 on testing the ministers.  

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To date, 120,000 tests have been carried out. 23,000 of these tests were from the community picked during the just concluded Rapid Assessment survey and around 12,000 were among high-risk travellers. Majority of the testing has been carried out among truck drivers and their contacts.  

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