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22 Mar 2020 | 01:48 AM UTC

Uganda: Government to close all borders on March 23 /update 1

Government to shut all borders on March 23 after first coronavirus (COVID-19) case was confirmed in Uganda; follow government directives

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UGA

Event

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced on Saturday, March 21, that the country will close its borders on Monday, March 23, after the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed. All land, water, and air points of entry will be closed until further notice. Only cargo or humanitarian flights will be allowed to land in the country. Domestic flights remain operational but may be suspended if new cases are confirmed. 

According to health officials, a Ugandan national who arrived in the country from Dubai tested positive for the virus on March 21. The individual has been isolated and is reportedly in good health. Heath officials are conducting contact tracing for all passengers who were on the same flight as the individual.

Further international spread of the virus is anticipated over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:  

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.