The week started on a rather disturbing note. A video of Chinese nationals suspected to be having the Coronavirus here in Uganda made rounds. So news of the Coronavirus allegedly reaching Uganda went wild and for a while couldn’t be quelled. A one Gillian Nantume, a reporter with NTV made things worse.
NTV reported thus: “Over 500 people in Uganda, who presented flu-like symptoms, which are a major characteristic of the coronavirus, have been quarantined. There are three stages of an epidemic and currently, Uganda is at the first stage – of the prevention stage. A social media video released on Sunday claimed that Chinese nationals, who had contracted the virus, had been taken to Entebbe Hospital but the Ministry confirmed on Monday that there are no infections recorded yet. Screening at major border points is being done.”
However, Emmanuel Ainebyona, a senior communications officer at the health ministry refuted any such numbers. He quickly shared an official communication by the Health Minister, Jane Ruth Achieng. “Uganda has NO confirmed case of #Coronavirus Disease (#COVID19) after Results from the samples obtained from the four foreign nationals; 1 French and 3 Chinese who were under isolation at Entebbe Referral Hospital tested negative for Coronavirus Disease (COVID 19),” the Minister wrote.
Note that the virus, now at a 3000 death toll and a mammoth 80.000 infection, with a footprint across over 50 countries, is yet to have its grip on the African continent. Though countries like Egypt, Algeria, and Nigeria have reported a case each, officials maintain everything is under control. Here in Uganda, the health ministry says it’s prepared to deal with the deadly virus should it set foot here. The worry many citizens have is the booming Uganda-China relationship, a country worst hit by the virus, will Uganda manage to steer clear of this virus?