The Ministry of Health has confirmed 16 new COVID-19 cases from 3,455 samples tested on Wednesday, June, 24, bringing the total number of cases to 821. All confirmed cases are Ugandans, the ministry says.
Five of the confirmed cases are truck drivers (four arrived from South Sudan via Elegu, while one arrived from Kenya via Busla Point of Entry.
11 of the confirmed cases are alerts and contacts to previously confirmed cases (four from Kyotera, four from Ammo, one from Tororo, one from Kakumiro and one from Luwero district).
A total of seven foreign truck drivers (four Kenyans, two Tanzanians and one Burundian) tested positive for COVID-19 and were handed over to their respective country of origin, according to the director-general of Health Services at the ministry 0f health, Dr Henry Mwebesa.
The increase in COVID-19 cases has been marked globally. According to data from the World Health Organisation, the number of confirmed cases reported daily is on the rise.
In the first month of the outbreak, less than 10,000 cases were reported to WHO. In the last month, almost 4 million cases have been reported. The number of reported cases is expected to reach 10 million next week.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO says that during such a time, it's vital for countries to concentrate on providing oxygen to handle complex cases.
"Even as we continue research into vaccines and therapeutics, we have an urgent responsibility to do everything we can with the tools we have now to suppress transmission and save lives. One of the most effective ways of saving lives is providing oxygen to patients who need it. Patients with severe and critical COVID-19 cannot get enough oxygen into their blood by breathing normally," Dr Ghebreyesus said.
According to doctors, patients with severe forms of COVID-19 require high amounts of oxygen to get better. If left untreated, severe COVID-19 deprives cells and organs of the oxygen they need, which ultimately leads to organ failure and death. Medical oxygen is produced using oxygen concentrators, which extract and purify oxygen from the air.
WHO estimates that at the current rate of about 1 million new cases a week, the world needs about 620,000 cubic meters of oxygen a day, which are about 88,000 large cylinders.
In Uganda, 44.2 billion shillings has been earmarked for purchasing Intensive Care Unit-ICU beds and building two oxygen plants at Mulago National Referral Hospital and Entebbe Regional Hospital in preparation for any severe COVID-19 cases.
Uganda has registered a total of 731 COVID-19 recoveries and to-date, no COVID-19 related death has been recorded.