By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) has confirmed the Indian COVID-19 variant in Kampala. The new deadly variant that was found in India has currently put the Asian country on tenterhooks with over one million cases reported in the last few days with over 350000 news cases reported on a daily basis.
According to the Ministry of Health, the variant also referred to as -B.1.617 was detected from travellers returning from India.
The executive director of UVRI, Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu, confirmed that they have so far identified one case but are on the lookout for other cases.
“We have picked up one case but are still looking for more because we are not yet sure whether the infected person had interacted with other people,” Prof. Kaleebu said.
According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda has so far detected over 300 cases of COVID-19 variants from other countries including variants from South Africa, Nigeria, India and the UK.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health on Wednesday told the press that they are worried about the presence of the Indian variant in the country since it seems to attack the young mainly and spread much easier compared to other variants.
“This variant is not like the disease we knew last year. It attacks the young which was not the case last year with the strain that we had and have grown accustomed to. Young people in India are dropping down in the streets dying. These people are not old, they are young. With 75 percent of our population below the age of 35, this is worrying,” Dr. Atwine noted.
Dr. Atwine added that in light of such developments, and the increase of cases from other countries, they are worried and considering taking measures to control the importation of variants into the country.
Following this development, the chairperson of the Indian Association of Uganda, Mohan Rao in a statement issued to the Indian community this week asked all members who have travelled from India in the recent past to take cautions and isolate.
“As you all are aware of the current situation in India and its struggles with COVID-19 second deadly wave. The new mutated COVID-19 variant has been labelled as a super spreader. So those who are returning from India to Uganda, some have turned positive, and chances of a few more in coming days. In the interest of the public, we appeal to the returnees to self isolate for a week after returning from India and follow SOPs to protect self and community in large,” the statement read in part.