A man has his temperature checked by a security worker before entering a conference hall in Kampala, Uganda, on March 24, 2020. Uganda has so far registered nine cases of COVID-19. (Photo by Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua)
KAMPALA, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday said the country may record more cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after eight suspected cases turned positive.
Museveni in a televised national address said the eight Ugandans who came into the country from Dubai between March 20 and 22 were cleared to leave Entebbe International Airport after the initial tests turned out negative.
They traveled to different parts in the central region where they interacted with the public. When the second results came out, all the eight were traced and now are undergoing treatment.
Museveni said the surveillance team was now tracing the people who came into contact with the eight confirmed cases.
"All the patients have been identified. But they had mixed with people. The surveillance team will trace the people they came in contact and test them," said Museveni.
The ministry of health late on Monday had said six of the eight were intercepted at the airport while the other two were got from their places of self-quarantine.
The president said that there are more samples that are being tested but for now the country has 9 registered cases.
He said the index case, which was confirmed on March 21, was greatly improving, noting that his temperature has gone down and the appetite was improving.
He reassured the public that cases that turn out positive can be treated and therefore people should not go into hiding.
"The people who escaped and tried to hide are endangering themselves and endangering others unnecessarily. There is a possibility that even if you are infected, you can be treated," said Museveni.
The president noted that COVID-19 is not as dangerous as Ebola which has a mortality rate of 67 percent. COVID-19, according to the ministry of health.
Museveni noted that closing of schools, worship centers, and banning of public gatherings is critical in limiting the spread of the disease.
He said if Entebbe International Airport had been closed earlier, the cases would not have come to Uganda but a lot of consultations had to be done in line with international law.
"All the cases are from Dubai. If we had closed the airport two days before, maybe these people wouldn't have come. But we had to do consultations," said Museveni.
Museveni warned that he would suspend public transport if the disease continues to spread. He said government is discussing replacing public transport with bicycles in the city in a bid to limit public interactions.
"Let's see how far these people who left the airport went plus their associates. If we see more problems we shall suspend public transport and promote bicycles," said Museveni.
He urged the public to abide by the guidelines issued by government in efforts to fight COVID-19. He noted that personal hygiene and social distance were critical to the fight.
"We shall manage it. We are already handling the treatment. We have got these people who are being treated now. Some of them are responding," said Museveni.
The president warned all those hiking food prices as a result of the COVID-19, noting that they risk losing their trading licenses.