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What you need to know about COVID-19 today
As of April 24
74 confirmed cases
861 people discharged from institutional quarantine
6,661 people tested
244 travellers identified
1,302 contacts listed
231 under institutional quarantine
834 under followup
141 under self-quarantine
— Uganda Ministry of Health
Jennifer Elms is originally from Corner Brook and is stationed in Jinja, Uganda with her family. This is her description of life during COVID-19.
“Like most parts of the world, Uganda has come to a standstill in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The entire country was put under a two-week lockdown as of April 1, which has since been extended for an additional three weeks.
“At the onset of confirmed cases, all forms of public transport were banned; borders were shut for human movement; and school, pubs, shopping centres, churches and mosques were closed to prevent potential spread. Additional restrictions have accumulated, including banning the use of private vehicles and a strict national curfew at 7 p.m.
“Most recently, all movement of boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis), now used primarily for local delivery of goods, is stopped daily at precisely 2 p.m.
“The response to the lockdown has varied. Many applaud the restrictions and view it as a precautionary means of protection. In urban parts of the country, however, violent protests ensued and have been subsequently quashed by military force.
“In our locality, life is relatively calm. A scattered person can be seen footing to a destination, some don homemade or re-used medical masks.
“My husband leaves our home once per week to walk to the market for food and supplies, as per the global advisory. Thankfully, we have not yet felt any effects of food or supply shortages.
“Like the rest of the world, we are trying our best to acclimatize to days spent inside, finding new and creative ways to entertain our energetic three-year-old and each other.
“To our daughter’s delight, we have reached new heights of excellence as Play-Do sculptors, crayon artists, Disney connoisseurs, and champions in hide-and-seek and Dance Freeze — her innocence masks the looming uncertainty of our current world.
“Of course, we dream of better days ahead — reunions with family and friends, mask-less walks in the sun, family swims and the indulgences we must all sacrifice for the common good. For the time being, we are grateful for our health, technology, and each other and look for opportunities to help others who face far dire circumstances.
“While there are relatively few confirmed COVID-19 cases currently in Uganda (55 at the time of writing), some allege that this might be only a snapshot resulting from limited testing and contact tracing. Many people fear to come forward with symptoms due to growing stigma and abuse against people infected, or suspected to be infected, with COVID-19.
“With public transport banned completely, the majority of people in Uganda are unable to reach hospitals for treatment of illnesses — COVID-19-related or otherwise.
“Incredible efforts have been made by (non-governmental organizations) to gain permission from local government to use company vehicles as emergency means of transport, which could go a long way in saving lives.
“While Uganda is being cautiously celebrated for its pre-emptive response to COVID-19, there is question to how the most vulnerable will survive as the lockdown continues and so many are left without the means to work or access hospitals.
“Life is nowhere near normal, but the sun continues to rise and set and, with it, renewed hope for the healing and protection for the people of Uganda and around the world.”