The State Minister for Primary Health Care, Joyce Moriku Kaducu has warned Ugandans who’ve been posing with Face Shields that they risk catching and spreading COVID-19.
Many Ugandans had substituted face shields for the recommended face masks as a way of protecting themselves. But Kaducu has warned that the accessories are not particularly helpful either to the bearer or the people around them as they allow easy flow of the virus.
While addressing journalists on Tuesday at Uganda Media Centre, Kaducu said: “The face shields are good physical barriers that provide additional protection by shielding eyes from droplets. While they reduce the droplets reaching the eyes and mouth, face shields leave a lot of uncovered space around these areas, enabling some droplets to reach them”
She said that face shields give limited protection to the eyes and mouth, hence masks protect individuals by preventing droplets from landing into their lips and nose, the major areas where covid-19 enters the body.
“The masks also prevent infected persons from dispensing virus through droplets as they talk, sneeze. Therefore, the Ministry of Health strongly discourages the public from using face shields as an alternative to face masks. In the event that they are to be used, this must be alongside with face masks as an additional protection,” she said.
The Minister’s warning comes at a time when the virus is widespread in the population, otherwise known as phase 4 of the pandemic that is characterized with unknown sources of infection and widespread person to person infection.
The disease has already claimed the lives of over 200 Ugandans including senior government officials, members of Parliament, top religious leaders and business executives.
As if that is not bad enough, Kaducu warned that: “Currently, Kampala remains the hotspot followed by other emerging hotspot districts like Kabarole, Kasese, Kabale, Lwengo, Masaka and Lyatonde.
“On average, today we are reporting 3,600 cases weekly and these emerge from 35 districts in the country. This is a significant increase compared to the previous week,” Kaducu added
Meanwhile, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO Representative to Uganda revealed more about the global status of the pandemic.
“As of Yesterday (Monday December 21), the world has sent over 75.7 million cases to the World Health Organisation in almost every country in the world,” he said.
He said that although Africa has fought to decrease new cases in the past, unfortunately in the past 12 weeks, there has been a constant increase of cases in the continent with the highest increase between the previous week of 78%.
He added, “When we compare Uganda to the rest of the countries, Uganda has the 7th highest total number of cases and accounts for the 5th highest caseload in the past 4 weeks.”