Uganda detects first case of COVID-19 variant from India

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ELEGU, UGANDA - 2020/05/28: A health worker dressed in a protective suit as a preventive measure collects swab samples from a truck driver to be tested for coronavirus at the Elegu border point. He will have to wait days for the result. Uganda closed its borders in March to everyone except cargo planes and truck drivers. (Photo by Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Uganda’s Ministry of Health on Thursday announced that the new COVID-19 variant discovered in India had been detected in the country.

“The deadly COVID-19 variant from India has been detected in Uganda. This should be a wake-up call for all of us,” the ministry said.

FILE PHOTO: A health worker collects swab samples from a truck driver to be tested for coronavirus at the Elegu border point. (Photo by Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The ministry did not give any further details on the detection.

India has recently witnessed a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases, blamed in part on the new virus variant in addition to mass political and religious events. The surge has overwhelmed hospitals with worrying shortages of beds, drugs and oxygen.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization warned that the variant, identified as B.1.617, had been detected in “at least 17 countries”.

The news comes at a time when Uganda has consistently recorded low new daily COVID-19 numbers and, as such, may spark fears of a potential resurgence in COVID-19 numbers.

Earlier on Thursday, the W.H.O. also warned that more than 40 African countries were at high-risk of a resurgence of the pandemic.

The ministry urged the public to continue adhering to the laid-out health regulations and, if eligible, get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Uganda has so far reported 41,797 confirmed cases and 342 deaths.

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