As the coronavirus sweeps the globe, Uganda’s minister of health is taking precautions to ensure the safety of her constituents.
Twenty-two foreign delegates were denied entry into Uganda after they refused to follow the country’s quarantine guidelines, reported Anadolu Agency. Foreigners are allowed to travel to the East African country if they agree to two weeks of self-quarantine at their own expense.
“Yesterday [Saturday], we received 22 passengers from the category 1 countries. None of them exhibited signs and symptoms of COVID-19. We informed them about our procedure of self-quarantine for 14 days. However, they were not willing to undergo this self-quarantine,” Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s minister of health, tweeted on Sunday, March 8. Aceng did not reveal where the delegates traveled from, though reports show they were traveling to attend the Uganda-EU Business Forum.
Last week, Uganda placed travel restrictions on seven countries that reported large rates of COVID-19 infections. Those places, deemed category 1 nations, included China, France, Italy, South Korea, Germany, Iran and Spain. On Thursday, March 12, nine more countries were added to the list including the United States, according to The Observer.
“Uganda has no travel ban as has been reported by some people. We are not stopping anyone from coming to Uganda but people in restricted countries need to know that they will be followed up,” Aceng stated. “We have put out the guidelines of self-quarantine on our website and those who are traveling should come prepared with an idea of what they will go through.”
Aceng was praised for her strong response to the pandemic.
“Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health in Uganda is not taking nonsense,” wrote one observer.
“Big shout out to the people of Uganda,” wrote another. “A group of Italians were sent back home right from the airport after refusing to be quarantined for the mandatory 14 days due to Corona virus. I hope Nigerian immigration is watching. God bless Africa.”
“I am personally proud of magnitude of vigor you are handling this situation. [Thumbs] up,” said another admirer. “Well done,” added another.
So far, there have been no reported cases of coronavirus in Uganda. Other countries on the continent have not been as lucky. More than 100 cases have been confirmed in Africa, according to a report from the World Health Organization. Egypt and Morroco top the list with 67 and 20 confirmed infections, respectively. Several nations have adopted measures to ensure the pandemic is contained, per CNN. One video showed handwashing stations were installed at a Rwandan bus station.
Kenya, another country without any confirmed cases, opened a 120-bed quarantine center in Nairobi. Nigeria does temperature screenings and provides hand sanitizer in public areas. South Africans can get a test at a private lab for $75. Tedros Adhanom, director-general of WHO, reported more than 125,000 infections and over 4000 across 118 countries.