Authorities in Mbarara District have closed five hotels in Mbarara City after reportedly accommodating two Covid-19 positive guests.
The hotels were closed during an operation led by the district deputy resident commissioner, Mr Emmy Turyabagyenyi, who also ordered for police deployment to seal off the premises.
“Mbarara District Covid-19 taskforce on Friday closed four hotels that include Rwampara Suites, Leisure Park International, African Guest House, Golden Monkey Guest House and Acacia Hotel, all found in Kakoba division for hosting Covid-19 positive guests and their contacts,’’ Mr Turyabagyenyi said.
He explained that on July 29, a Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) official from Bunagana border point who was travelling to Kampala slept in Mbarara before the test results of his driver came out positive with the virus.
“A URA official spent a night at Acacia Hotel on his way from Bunagana border in Kisoro District where his driver had tested positive for the virus. His driver’s results were released when the two were already in Mbarara for two days. The driver whose results had tested positive slept at African Guest House,’’ Mr Turyabagyenyi said.
Another case was a 32-year-old money changer at Mutukulu border point. He’s a resident of Kiruhura who found his way to Mbarara and slept at Leisure Park International Hotel before switching to Golden Monkey Guest House in Kijungu. Rwampara Suites was closed because authorities feared that contacts to a positive case from the neighbouring Leisure Park International Hotel had been accommodated there.
“There is no official record that the money changer passed through an official border. However, when he reached Mbarara, he spent a night at Leisure Park International Hotel. The following day he changed to Golden Monkey Hotel where he and his male friend had booked a room,” Mr Turyabagyenyi added.
The following day, the money changer went to Mbarara regional referral hospital for the virus test.
He reportedly asked to be subjected to the test because he wanted to have a Covid-19 free certificate before travelling to Kiruhura. Authorities said he suspected the community would not allow him in Kiruhura because they knew he had been working in Tanzania.
The two confirmed cases have been taken to Mbarara regional referral hospital isolation center for management and the primary contacts put under institutional quarantine at Rwentanga Farm Institute for monitoring while several tests are being conducted.
Mr Turyabagyenyi said the hotels will be closed for 14 days and all their staff put under quarantine for the next 14 days.
“We shall not allow any person going inside there or getting outside. This by implication show that the virus is within us here and that is why government has been telling the public to observe standard operating procedures,’’ he added.
Mbarara district Health Officer Dr Peter Ssebutinde said they had closed institutional quarantine in favour of home quarantine because of the resource envelope being limited but they have been forced to quarantine the contacts for the safety of the community.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed six new virus infection as the country’s cases rose to 1,182.
Two of the new cases are truck drivers, three are returnees while the other is an alert from Nakaseke District.
Government has so far confirmed four virus deaths and 1,045 recoveries since the virus outbreak was confirmed in Uganda in March this year.