Uganda bolsters COVID-19 response amid spike in new cases, emergence of Omicron

Uganda's Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, listens to an explanation the COVID-19 vaccination workflow by a health worker on March 10, 2021 in Kampala, Uganda. (Photo by Luke Dray / Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Uganda’s Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, listens to an explanation the COVID-19 vaccination workflow by a health worker on March 10, 2021 in Kampala, Uganda. Aceng on December 23, 2021 reiterated a government directive to persons aged 50 years and above, as well as those with comorbidities get a booster dose of the vaccine.(Photo by Luke Dray / Getty Images)

Uganda’s health ministry is bolstering its response against the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

In a ministerial address to the country on the state of the pandemic, health minister Jane Ruth Aceng noted that the country had recorded a steep spike in new cases over the last fortnight, with 73 cases of the new strain reported so far.

“In the last two weeks, we began to observe an increase in the number of confirmed cases,” she said.

“In the last two weeks of December 2021, we have registered 2,423 confirmed cases, giving an average of 173 cases per day. We have registered a 100 per cent increase in cases and positivity in the last seven days compared to the previous week,” she added.

Aceng noted that the East African country was noting letting its guard down despite recording low numbers of the Omicron variant.

She said it was possible that the picture in the communities could be different given that the new strain is largely responsible for the surging numbers in many countries around the world.

“The Uganda virus research institute will continue conducting genomic sequencing of samples obtained from incoming travelers at the ports of entry and among cases detected within the country so as to establish the true picture of this variant in Uganda,” she said.

Aceng urged those who were yet to take their vaccine doses to do so immediately. She also reiterated a government directive to persons aged 50 years and above, as well as those with comorbidities get a booster dose of the vaccine.

So far, Uganda has recorded 130,888 COVID-19 infections with 3,274 deaths.