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Uganda tracks down 84 passengers who came with its first confirmed victim of Covid-19

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KAMPALA – Health Minister Jane Aceng has said that they are following up on the 84 passengers who arrived in Uganda aboard the Ethiopian Airways flight on that was boarded by the Ugandan who tested positive of coronavirus.

Ugandans were shocked to learn that the 84 passengers who flew into the country on Saturday at 2 am and exposed to the coronavirus patient, were allowed to mix freely with the rest of the population

“There were about 84 passengers on the plane that transported the 36-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus”, according to the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng.
The confirmed case, who is a resident of Kibuli, Kakungulu zone in Kampala traveled aboard Ethiopian Airlines that arrived at Entebbe International Airport at around 2am on March 21, 2020. He had traveled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on March 17 for a business trip.

Speaking during the press conference addressed by President Museveni in Nakasero State Lodge in Kampala on Sunday, Dr Aceng said while the passengers did not show signs of the deadly virus, their details have been extracted and relevant agencies are getting in touch to follow up.

“We have all the necessary information about them (84 passengers) but my appeal to them is if you are called upon, please cooperate for easier monitoring,” Ms Aceng said on Sunday.

Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent secretary, Ministry of Health said that other people were advised to self-quarantine but they will call be called for monitoring.

The minister also explained that the group was not subjected to mandatory quarantine because they were all not coming from the high risk countries.

The health minister said countries that had failed to enforce decisive and precise measures earlier on were grappling with costly consequences of high numbers of infections and deaths. Italy and Spain are recording as high as 700 coronavirus deaths in a single day. 

 She added that with the exception of this passenger who was retained, no other passenger showed signs of Covid-19. Even then, besides high temperature, this case did not present any other of the known signs of Covid-19.

It might have to be the grace of God that more cases are not registered in the next weeks if not

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Diana Atwine said the 84 exposed passengers were not quarantined because, as per current standard operating procedure, they don’t want to keep as many people at the airport for a long time due to risk of exposure of infection.

The president of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni  praised the health officials at Entebbe airport for detecting the country’s first coronavirus case by just monitoring the patient’s temperature after he exhibited no signs and symptoms of cough and flu that are usually associated with COVID-19.

Museveni said he was told that the infected passenger had a temperature of 38.7 degrees and was isolated from the rest of the other passengers.

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