ARUA. Arua district Covid-19 task force is facing challenges with institutional quarantine centre at Arua school of Comprehensive nursing and midwifery.

This follows a recent pronouncement by President Yoweri Museveni that candidate classes and final year students would report to their various schools from 2nd of June 2020.

The district had been using the centre as the only isolation centre to quarantine COVID-19 suspects.

The quarantine centre at Arua Nursing currently has 51 contacts quarantined, a number which is the maximum for the capacity of the centre. This is after twelve more were released a week ago.

“With the number of 51, the quarantine centre has reached its maximum capacity and that calls for a need for the task force to identify an additional quarantine centre as soon as possible”, acting Arua district health officer, Mr Paul Drileba told journalists on Thursday.

Drileba disclosed that there are additional four people in isolation at Oli Health centre IV, a health unit which is mainly meant for screening the Coronavirus suspects.

Before the president’s address on Monday, Arua district task force was in conclusive talks with Ragem Technical Institute to have another quarantine centre at the institution, which move was turned down by management after the pronouncement that final year students would return soon.

“That means, if we have any case of contacts now, we are most likely going to choose for them to stay in self-quarantine in their homes, which poses a lot of risks to the community as people do not want to heed to directives given”, he stressed.

Drileba said the only option for creating space in the current operational quarantine centre may be by subtracting number of the suspects which may be risky.

The DHO appealed to Arua district leaders to speed up identification of another quarantine centre as soon as possible as students return to school.

According to the ministry of health guidelines, a suspected case is supposed to be monitored for 14 days before she/he is discharged from a quarantine centre.

However, during the meeting, some members of the task force suggested for a rapid establishment of an independent quarantine centre in Arua as a lasting solution to occupying institutional centres which are faced with challenges of returning learners.

“There is need to get an independent quarantine centre as contacts continue to escalate in Arua. The task force should make the president know about the urgent need based on conditions of West Nile region being in borrders with badly performing countries like South Sudan and DRC”, Arua business community chairman, Mr Moses Obeta noted.

Arua regional referral hospital is currently treating 10 COVID-19 patients.

Arua Regional HArua Regional Referral Hospital (ARRH). PHOTOS BY JOSEPH ODAMA

During the meeting, members of the task force expressed concern over the porous borders between Uganda and two countries of Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan as many look for ways to sneak into Uganda.

This adds on challenges of factors of cross-border relatives from both sides of the countries who can easily come into contacts through movements for economic activities like cross-border farming and animal grazing.

However, security personnel manning the border posts have been cautioned against accepting bribes as many people from DRC and South Sudan may want to bribe their way into Uganda through security officers at the border posts.