Members of Parliament have asked for an extension of 2021 General Elections due to Corona Virus.
MPs’ proposals follow a statement by the Minister of State for Health, Primary Health Care Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu on Tuesday during the plenary where she said that Uganda has not confirmed any case of COVID-19 as of 03rd March 2020.
However, the risk of its importation remains very high.
“As you are aware, Uganda has maintained its open entry policy for travellers even from affected countries as most of these nations have major business, tourisms and other links. To date, a total of 722 travellers have been isolated for purposes of follow up. Of these, 499 are Chinese nationals, 150 are Ugandan citizens while 73 other nationals. 41 per cent of these people have completed their mandatory days of self – isolation. Additionally, so far samples from 10 suspected cases of CoronaVirus disease have been tested and all tested negative,” she said.
Kaducu also urged all Ugandans to avoid handshaking, hugging, mass gatherings and to observe infection, prevention and control practices such as washing hands with soap and clean water at all times both at health facilities and communities.
However, on the issue of avoiding mass gatherings, MPs proposed for the extension of the 2021 elections since all campaigns will comprised public gatherings.
Kilak South Member of Parliament, Gilbert Olanya said, “If we are avoiding public gatherings, so are we going to have elections? Or we extend them till Corona Virus is settled?”
He also asked the minister why the government is allowing people from high-risk countries to come into Uganda.
Jova Kamateka, the Woman MP Mitooma District cautioned the government that some people have left their countries with the intention of bringing the virus in Uganda.
“We are going to spend a lot of money yet such people leave their country intentionally. Why don’t we restrict them from coming into our country. If strong countries that have much capacity and strong facilities like the USA, have restricted them, why are we still allowing people from countries with high risks,” she said.
She also added that suspects of the virus must be taken very far away from society like how China has done.
However, Kaducu replied to them and said that as a ministry there will be a ban on the public gathering but people will have to follow the already issued procedures. She also noted that the government will not restrict any people from any country but the ministry of Health is to ensure diligent surveillance at all entry points of Uganda.
“We can not strop public gathering but we can ensure that the organisers follow clear procedures as a protective measure. l am confident that the government of Uganda with a good track record in management of Public health threats including the recent spread of the Ebola outbreak from the neighbouring country DRC, will do everything possible within her means to Prevent, Detect and Respond to any suspected case of COVID-19,” she said.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak was declared by the People’s Republic of China on 31st December,2O19 in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China.
On 31st January 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The declaration meant that all Member States must put in place considerable measures to Prevent, Detect and Response to this outbreak.
Globally, as of last month, the total number of confirmed cases of COVIDl-9 was at 89,000 of which over 79,000 are in mainland China. The disease has spread to Sixty six (66) including Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria in Africa and recently Tunisia and Senegal. To date, the number of deaths from Coronavirus disease has gone to 3,043 and the World health organisation risk classification has been upgraded to very high for China, Regional level and Global Level.
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