Ugandan Lift Lockdown On Ebola
By Emokpaire Tijani Agba
Uganda has lifted a two-month lockdown on two districts at the epicenter of the country’s Ebola epidemic, amid cautious hope that the outbreak could end soon.
President Yoweri Museveni rescinded restrictions on the disease’s epicentre in the district of Mubende, which logged 66 cases and 29 deaths, and in the Kassanda region with 49 cases and 21 deaths.
“Currently, there is no transmission, no contact under follow-up, no patients in the isolation facilities, and we are progressing well with the count down,” President Museveni said in a statement.
The move comes after Uganda’s local leaders appealed to the government to lift the lockdown, considering it has had a severe impact on businesses.
Since authorities declared an Ebola outbreak Sept. 20, the East African nation has registered 142 confirmed cases and 56 deaths, with the disease spreading to the capital, Kampala.
In October, Ugandan authorities announced curfew and travel restrictions and shut down places of worship and entertainment.
The country has now made progress on curbing the deadly virus which is known to kill 40%-60% of the people it infects. It discharged its last Ebola patient earlier this month.
Uganda earlier this month received its first shipment of trial vaccines against the Sudan strain, with more doses expected in the coming weeks.
They will be used in a so-called ring vaccination trial, where all contacts of confirmed Ebola patients, and contacts of contacts, are jabbed along with frontline and health workers.
However, the absence of active Ebola cases in recent days has held up the vaccine trials, according to international health experts working in Uganda.