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Health Ministry to trace all returning airline passengers two weeks before Entebbe closure

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Health Ministry to trace all returning airline passengers two weeks before Entebbe closure

Uganda Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng

UPDATED:
The government has set itself a huge but vital task of tracing all returning airline passengers who entered Uganda in the two weeks before Entebbe International airport was closed on March 21, 2020.

The Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said in her national address this morning.

Dr. Aceng said that tracing the passengers with the aim of screening them for any signs of Coronavirus infection, will be one of the top priorities during the ongoing two-weeks lockdown.

Minister Aceng said: “Ministry of Health has obtained the passenger manifest of the travellers dating back to the 7th March 2020. This manifest will be correlated with the health forms filled by the travellers and will be used to track all those who returned during the period 7th March to 22nd March when the airport was closed.

She added: “They will be screened, tested and followed up closely (under institutional set-up).
All confirmed cases will be isolated and duly treated. All the contacts of any new confirmed cases will be traced, found tested and duly institutionally quarantined for further follow-up and testing (14 days).”

Officials from the Ministry of Health told President Museveni during his April 3, address to the nation, that they had obtained personal details of more than 2,400 travellers whom they intend to track down during this 14-days of quarantine.

And yet, according to Minister Aceng, this is what they have to do to ensure they have left no traces of coronavirus infections to spread further into the population.

Besides tracing returnees still out there in the population, Aceng said the ministry will test all those under institutional quarantine, (Over 1000) to weed out asymptomatic cases and institute more strict quarantine measures.

Asymptomatic transmission means you can be infected with the virus, have no symptoms and still be contagious, according to Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Most people who pass along the virus do so while they’re sick, usually because they’re coughing or sneezing, which sheds a lot of infectious viruses. But, there is still a significant number of people who transmit that are asymptomatic.

Aceng added that the government will also strengthen the available systems to ensure that people who suddenly manifest symptoms are picked up and well managed so as to improve outcomes and or minimise deaths.

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