Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng on Saturday reported 318 new COVID-19 cases, the country’s highest daily total since it recorded its first case.
Dr. Aceng said that out of the new cases, 154 of them were recorded at Amuru Prison. 153 of the cases were inmates while one was a prison staff.
Aceng said an inmate at the prison was admitted to Gulu Referral Hospital after he exhibited COVID-19 like signs and symptoms. The inmate had since recovered and been discharged.
“In light of the above, the Ministry of Health undertook further investigations in Amuru Prisons. Out of the 205 inmates, 153 inmates tested positive. Out of the 28 prison staff, one tested positive for COVID-19,” Aceng said.
Aceng said all the other inmates who tested positive were transferred to Gulu Central Prison while the prison staff had been admitted to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.
“The inmates are currently being attended to by a combined team from Mulago National Referral Hospital and Gulu Regional Referral Hospital supporting the Uganda Prisons Services health team for appropriate management.”
Aceng added it was possible that a prisoner from Amuru community may have been taken to the prison with infection while asymptomatic.
Prisons, due to the numbers of inmates in them, congestion and cases of poor hygiene, have been identified as areas in which the coronavirus could spread exponentially.
ALSO READ: Exclusive Interview with Joshua Cheptegei
Aceng said that several institutions had also reported clusters of infections highlighting the need to ensure that workplaces strictly observed the existing health regulations.
Uganda has now recorded a total of 2,066 cases. Kampala, which has the highest numbers of community transmissions, accounts for 26 percent of the cases with a total of 540.
“Of these, 342 cases (in Kampala) were registered within the last one week, from 15th August to 21st August 2020 including 5 COVID-19 deaths,” Aceng said.
The ministry also reported an additional COVID-19 death, a 49-year-old male from Mbale District. Uganda’s death toll now stands at 20.
Uganda has consistently reported low numbers of daily COVID-19 positive cases, however, in recent days; it has begun reporting increasing numbers of cases, particularly in Kampala, raising concern among authorities.
On Friday, the Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi issued an ultimatum to Kampala residents to comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or else recommendations proposing a lockdown will be forwarded to President Yoweri Museveni.
On Monday, the Minister of Works and Transport Edward Wamala said the government may reimpose the ban on public transport amid reports of a section of motorists flouting COVID-19 regulations.