Christopher Krafft, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy Kampala
The United States Embassy in Uganda has issued a warning to all its citizens, telling them not to be hoodwinked into thinking that there is no COVID-19 in Uganda.
The Embassy says the Ministry of Health isn’t carrying out enough tests within communities.
In a statement issued by Christopher Krafft, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy Kampala, the Embassy said that although Uganda has handled COVID-19 very well to date, the country is now entering a new phase of the outbreak.
“For each sick patient who shows up at a clinic, there are many more who may not get very sick, but who can still spread the virus to others. In the phase we are now in, we will continue to have a lot of cases out there that we just don’t know about. And it is not only Kampala. We’ve had “hotspots” of community transmission for several weeks now in other areas of the country, and will expect to see more,” said Krafft.
The Embassy boss warned Americans that for each death on the news, there may be hundreds of infected persons linked to them who were never detected.
“If those infected persons are not wearing a mask and socially distancing, which most people unfortunately are not, then they are out in public right now and may be infecting other people. COVID-19 is in Kampala possibly a lot of it,” said Krafft.
He added: “Kampala has a lot more cases of COVID-19 than are currently known. They won’t show up on the daily press releases because there are not enough test kits to do widespread community testing although there are intense efforts underway to bridge that gap.”
The Embassy added that it isn’t shocked by the new cases in community transmission would eventually begin, and Uganda would start the upward climb in cases that nearly every other country has seen.
“We are now there. If you were not paying attention before because it seemed there was no COVID-19 in your area, pay attention now. People who are infected may show no symptoms meaning that you could be a carrier and you wouldn’t even know it and still transmit the virus to other people,” warned Krafft.
The Embassy boss warned Americans that as Uganda goes into the fifth month since the initial cases were introduced into Uganda, it is safest to simply assume that everyone you meet is infected.
“This is not a call to panic, but an encouragement to return to the behaviors that will keep us safe. In this phase of increasing community transmission, it is up to each of us to protect ourselves, follow the guidelines, and do our part,” he said.
Krafft commended Government’s initial target for COVID-19 that was to prevent the spread of the virus by closing the airport, testing people at borders, and quarantining travelers.
He said these quick and decisive actions succeeded in largely preventing importation of COVID-19 into Uganda for far longer than most countries.
He however said that since the start of easing lockdown in June, there are many asymptomatic cases for each person who dies with COVID-19 disease, and this has been worsened by a handful of deaths in a very short time without seeing the increase in diagnosis of asymptomatic or symptomatic cases at the same time.