Uganda: Panic As Two Masaka Mechanics Test Positive for COVID-19

Masaka Town dwellers have been left in panic after two motor vehicle mechanics were identified as some of the people whose samples tested positive for Covid-19 on the weekend.

The confirmed patients are mechanics working for a businessman in Masaka town, according to Mr Herman Ssentongo, the Masaka resident district commissioner.

"The two confirmed cases were deployed to repair a trailer at Kayabwe along Masaka-Kampala highway last week. When they returned to Masaka Town, they complained of some fever, headache and flu, prompting our team to draw samples from them and their results have turned positive," Mr Ssentongo said in an interview.

When the news reached the two patients at Hobert Street, where the Covid-19 surveillance team found them on Tuesday, they tried to protest, insisting that they were negative.

"For me, I am now fine. I don't feel any sickness as they claim. They just want to extort money from us," one of the patient shouted as he was led into a waiting ambulance.

One of the patients is a resident of Kijjabwemi, a Masaka Town suburb and has a family while the other, who is a resident of Nyendo stays alone.

Mr Ssentongo, who also chairs the district Covid-19 task force, said the duo could have contracted the virus from the driver of a cargo truck they repaired. The driver entered Uganda through Mutukula border post from Tanzania.

"We have already identified their immediate contacts and all are going to be placed under institutional quarantine at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital," he added.

Masaka is among the first districts that recorded Covid-19 cases in late March after a businessman who had just returned from United Arab Emirates infected his wife and a daughter in Nyendo, a Masaka Town suburb. The trio was admitted to Entebbe General Hospital have since recovered and discharged.

Masaka Regional Referral Hospital has so far discharged four Covid-19 patients and remains with 21 patients, occupying all the existing beds at the isolation centre.

The hospital management is now pondering transferring some new patients to either Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital or Entebbe General Hospital.

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday said they had recorded 31 new cases of Covid-19 as the country's tally rose to 253.

Of the new cases, 23 are from the points of entry while eight are contacts to previously confirmed truck drivers.

"The contacts were under quarantine at the time of test," said Dr Henry Mwebesa, Director General Health Services, in a statement posted on the Ministry of Health social media platforms.

Relatedly, 20 foreign truck drivers (16 Tanzanians and 4 Kenyans) were handed over to their respective country of origin after testing positive for the virus.

The number of truck drivers who have been returned to their respective countries now stands at over 270.

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