The study which was carried out by using data on the volume of air travel departing airports in the infected provinces in China and directing it to Africa to estimate the risk of the importation per country shows that Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan and Rwanda have low risks of being infected by the disease.
The study titled, ‘Preparedness and Vulnerability of African Countries against Importations of COVID-19: Modelling Study’ shows that countries within the East Africa bloc have moderately low chances of getting the disease from China.
Majority of the flights 47.8 percent that are made from the three countries are to Beijing, followed by 30.5 percent to Guangdong and 14.7 percent to Shanghai.
Data from the World Health Organization-WHO shows that the provinces have some of the lowest number of infected persons. As of March 4 2020, Beijing had 417 cases while Shanghai had 338. Guangdong had the highest number of cases with 1350.
Even with the low risk, the ministry of health is asking government for Shs 25 billion to increase its preparedness and be ready to address any future cases that might enter the country.
Dr Allan Muruta, the commissioner in charge of Epidemiology Surveillance and Public Health Emergencies at the ministry of health says that despite their low risk to being infected, they need to be ready for any eventuality.
Muruta says that even with no funds, they are going ahead to carry out some preventive measures such as screening, limiting public assemblies and sensitizing the public using different avenues.
Public awareness messages are asking people to avoid being in crowded places and also to carry out proper handwashing practices as a way of keeping the disease at bay.
In addition to this, two isolation centres one in Entebbe and the other in Kampala at Naguru General Hospital have been set up to handle any cases that might arise. The isolation centres have a total bed capacity of 15 people.
Since WHO declared a coronavirus outbreak, the government issued a travel advisory to all Ugandan nationals advising them not to travel to China. So far, the country has not yet reported any cases of the disease.