Uganda Reports First Coronavirus Death

A health worker wears protective gears at the Mpondwe Health Screening Facility in the Uganda border town with the Democratic Republic of Congo, on June 13, 2019. - A grandmother in Uganda has died from Ebola, health officials said on June 12, 2019, the second fatality in the country since …
ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP via Getty Images

Uganda has documented its first fatality from the Chinese coronavirus since it began reporting coronavirus cases in March, the country’s Ministry of Health announced on Thursday.

According to Director-General of Health Services Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the victim was a 34-year-old woman support worker at a health facility in the eastern border district of Namisindwa, who died six days after experiencing symptoms.

“The deceased was initially admitted to Wasungui HC II on Wednesday, 15th July 2020 and treated for severe pneumonia,” said Mwebesa. “However, on Monday, 20th July 2020, she was transferred to Joy Hospice health facility, in Mbale District, where she was isolated in the female ward. The victim presented all symptoms including a fever, dry cough, and difficulty in breathing.”

The woman was confirmed as positive for the coronavirus through tests at four separate laboratories including the Mobile Lab in Tororo, the Makerere University Laboratory, and the Central Public Health Lab at Butabika.

The ministry confirmed that those who came in contact with her, mostly her family members, have been located and placed into quarantine. Health authorities are yet to locate the source of the infection and are still struggling to do so.

“As of now we don’t know where she got infected from and we are trying to urgently identify the source,” admitted Mwesba.

Like many countries in Africa, Uganda has recorded just over 1,000 coronavirus cases, despite having a population of nearly 43 million people. As of Friday, authorities had reported 1,089 cases and 975 recoveries and joins Botswana and Burundi as countries reporting just one death. However, such figures should be treated with skepticism given the widespread lack of testing and the country’s poor healthcare system.

The greater threat to life in Uganda has largely come from the police or private militias enforcing lockdown measures. The BBC reported on Wednesday that at least 12 people have been killed by security forces since the country entered quarantine in March.

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