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COVID-19: Ugandan schools experience surge in cases

Complacency and indiscipline were blamed for the increase in infection.

• November 24, 2020
Yoweri Museveni
Uganda president, Yoweri Museveni (Credit: Chief Observer)

Uganda’s ministry of health on Tuesday said the country had registered an increase of COVID-19 cases in schools and tertiary institutions after the government reopened candidate classes and finalist students.

Joyce Moriku, Minister of State for Primary Health Care told reporters that 120 cases had been registered in four learning institutions.

“Since the opening of schools for candidate classes, working with the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the potential emergence of COVID-19 clusters in schools,’’ said Ms. Moriku.

She said schools should enforce a `stay home’ policy for learners and teachers that feel unwell, with quick linkage to health authorities, as well as strengthening surveillance to identify cases early.

“The ministry of health doesn’t recommend closure of schools as this will only heighten further community transmissions and further create disruption in learners academic progression,’’ said Ms. Moriku.

“However, it is only under special circumstances, lack of capacity of the school or district to respond to COVID-19 and increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the school, will the Ministry of Health recommend closure,’’ she said.

Uganda’s schools, colleges and universities reopened for the 1.2 million students in candidate classes and finalists in tertiary colleges and universities on Oct. 15, after seven months of closure over COVID-19 that broke out in March.

Ms. Moriku warned that since the phased lifting of the lockdown, the ministry has noticed a high level of complacency among the population and gross lack of discipline in following the set standard operating procedures.

“This has led to the increased number of COVID-19 infections that we are currently experiencing,’’ Ms. Moriku added.

Uganda as of Monday had registered a cumulative confirmed 18,165 COVID-19 cases, 8,675 recoveries and 181 deaths since the first case was reported on March 21 in the country. 

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