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COVID-19: Uganda-Tanzania border districts declared most vulnerable

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The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine said five districts along the Uganda-Tanzania border are mostly at risk during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Dr. Atwine made it clear on Friday that Mbarara, Ntungamo, Isingiro, Rakai and Kyotera are at a high risk of infection.

She said the Ministry has equipped Mbarara regional referral hospital with all the necessary equipment and health workers to handle any suspected cases of COVID-19 reported around these five districts.

Dr. Atwine said that the Ministry is focusing on getting laboratory equipment nearer to the border line to put an end to delay in testing and getting results from samples picked from borders mostly from truck drivers.

Dr. Atwine who toured the districts on Friday to assess the Uganda-Tanzania border line status said that much as the government has acquired laboratory equipment to test Covid-19 samples, it is still stuck with where to import testing kits from and advised that for the mean time people should adhere to the preventive measures.

Herbert Muhangi, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) for Isingiro asked the permanent secretary to set up a fully equipped isolation center where people that cross through the porous borders can be isolated and tested before mixing with others.

Currently Isingiro is using Kabahindi school as the quarantine center.

Dr. Atwine said the Health Ministry is coming up with mitigation plans to carry out a random survey on COVID-19 pandemic around high-risk areas like high way towns and border districts.

The plans will include subjecting all people in the most risk areas to compulsory testing to ensure that all possible loopholes for the spill over of the virus into the country are sealed.

Tanzania is one of the East African countries that is having a rapid increase of confirmed cases currently standing at over 500.

This is making people at the border districts vulnerable to the truck drivers crossing in from Tanzania and their continued interactions endangers Ugandans.

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