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Uganda registers first coronavirus death

Ministry of Health Uganda

Uganda’s Director-General of Health Services Dr. Henry Mwebesa (centre) addresses the press. TWITTER/ Ministry of Health Uganda

Uganda reported its first COVID-19-related death, the Director-General of Health Services at Ministry of Health Uganda Dr. Henry Mwebesa confirmed on Thursday.

According to  Ministry of Health Uganda, the deceased was a 34-year-old Ugandan woman who presented COVID-19 like symptoms such as fever, dry cough, headache and difficulty in breathing.

The woman had died at a clinic in Mbale East of the country on Tuesday and the Ministry of Health Uganda had launched an investigation into her death.

The ministry said that samples were taken from the deceased and tested at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), Makerere, Tororo and CPHL laboratories.

“The postmortem samples from the deceased were confirmed positive for SARS-COV-2 by 4 laboratories: UVRI, CPHL, Tororo and Makerere. In addition, findings at postmortem showed features of acute pneumonia; findings that are consistent with COVID-19 infection,” Dr Mwebesa said.

In addition, findings at postmortem showed features of acute pneumonia; findings that are consistent with COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Mwebesa said in a televised address.

“In our earlier report we had indicated that the deceased was not a Ugandan. Further investigations have since established that she was a Ugandan from Manafwa, Bubulo East, Namabya- Namunyali- Sisongofwa,” he added.

So far, 30 contacts to the deceased have been listed and placed under quarantine by the health authorities in Namisindwa and Mbale districts.

The listed contacts so far include family members, and healthcare workers. The process of contact identification and listing is reportedly still ongoing, and we believe the number of contacts may increase as the extensive epidemiological investigation evolves.

“The contacts will be monitored daily for fourteen (14) days as per our protocol by district surveillance teams supported by Ministry of Health experts who will be deployed in the district,” Dr Mwebesa added

Uganda was one of the few countries in the continent which had not yet recorded a death from COVID-19 by mid-July, according to the Africa CDC; the others were Eritrea and Seychelles. Some countries like Namibia, Burundi and Botswana had recorded just one death by then.

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