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Uganda detects India Covid-19 variant

Uganda says it is on red alert over the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

The country’s Ministry of Health says it has noted a gradual increase in the positive Covid-19 cases from statistics collected in the past six weeks.

“It is important for us to note that for viral epidemics, the second wave is usually more aggressive than the 1st wave,” The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero said in a statement on Friday.

The surge has been recorded in the districts of Arua, Gulu, Kiryandongo, Oyam, Kitgum, Jinja, Tororo, Adjumani, Moyo,Wakiso and Kampala .

As of April 30, 2021, Uganda had recorded 342 fatalities with 41,866 people testing positive for the virus and 41,422 recoveries recorded so far.

Further, the ministry says it has detected the Indian variant of the novel coronavirus.

The variant had been detected in recent days on a Ugandan who had returned from a visit to India.

Other variants detected in the country include South African, Nigerian, UK and Ugandan.

To curb further spread of the Indian variant, the Uganda Government has suspended all flights from the Asia country until further notice.

“All travellers who may have been in India or travelled through India in the last 14 days regardless of the route taken will not be allowed into Uganda.

They however noted that Cargo flight where crew does not disembark, Technical stops where travellers do not disembark, Aircraft in a state of emergency, Operations related to humanitarian aid, medical evacuation and diplomatic flights approved by appropriate Authority and National returning home after medical treatment in India have been exempted from the suspensions.

Also, travellers from the USA, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania will be subjected to Covid-19 test at the point of entry.

On Thursday, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warned India’s intense outbreak was a reminder that Africa must stay vigilant.

The head of the health agency John Nkengasong said the African Union will convene a meeting of African health ministers on May 8 to “put everybody on alert”.

India reported more than 379,000 new coronavirus cases and 3,645 new deaths on Thursday alone. It was the highest number of deaths reported in a single day in the world’s second-most populous country since the start of the pandemic.