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Ministry Of Health: No COVID-19 Lethal Strain Spreading

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued a warning against what they term scaremongering related to the alleged spread of a lethal strain of COVID-19. Claims of a new variant circulating in a dossier since December, suggesting it causes no cough or fever but symptoms like neck pain, headache, joint pains, and pneumonia, have been widely shared on social media.

However, in an interview with URN, Dr. Daniel Kyabayinze, the Director of Public Health in the Ministry, stated that their surveillance teams have found no evidence to confirm this. While acknowledging that people are still contracting the viral respiratory disease, Dr. Kyabayinze emphasized that there has been no surge in hospitalization or deaths in Uganda.

He clarified that the two new variants, including JN.1, linked to a surge in cases elsewhere, have not been detected in Uganda.

Dr. Kyabayinze encouraged individuals with suspicious symptoms to undergo testing to eliminate the possibility of either normal seasonal flu or COVID-19. He expressed concern over declining numbers of people seeking testing and vaccination.

For safety, the Health Ministry urged people to consider booster doses, whose uptake has been low, resulting in the expiration of over five million doses valued at approximately 28 billion shillings, as per the recent Auditor General’s report. National Medical Stores (NMS) recently issued an urgent call for the utilization of vaccines in stores.

Appearing before the parliamentary health committee, Moses Kamabare, the NMS Boss, highlighted that demand for these drugs by districts is nearly zero, expressing concern that they might expire if efforts to increase uptake are not implemented. However, Dr. Kyabayinze clarified that the ministry has no plans for a new campaign to encourage booster shots.


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