ARUA. The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has advised women in Arua not to come close to truck drivers so as to minimize the risk of contracting coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Aceng said right now, nearly 30 of the 83 COVID-19 cases in Uganda are foreigners and mostly truck drivers.

“The cargo drivers from Mutukula will usually end up around here and the unfortunate think is that we don’t have a lot of information on what is happening in our sister country of Tanzania. But you need to prepare your minds that any cargo truck coming to your border points of entry, is a potential source of infection,” Aceng said while addressing Arua COVID-19 task force members in Arua town on Friday.

“And when you are sensitizing the communities, please alert my sisters and daughters to stay away from the cargo drivers. Imagine, if my sisters interact with cargo drivers and sometimes, they are also married; they have husbands in the community. It is not worth taking infection to your husband, to your children and your husband takes it to the next person and the infection propagates all over the country,” the Minister said.

She said even if the truck drivers have dollars, women shouldn’t follow them because the move is not worth the money.

Aceng advised that the cargo drivers should be left to do their work and exit the country without infecting anybody through contact.

She observed that in any case, if cargo drivers are found positive, the ministry already has a tracking mechanism for them to be identified and get treated since they didn’t choose to get COVID-19.

Dr Jane Ruth

“So, let us not stigmatize them but let us be careful that we avoid interaction with them unless we know for sure, only through testing that they are not infected,” Acenge said.

She also used the opportunity to urge Arua district leadership to be united in the fight against COVID-19.

“This time is not for pulling ropes, it is time for unity, team work, sacrifice, support, care, selflessness and no politics. COVID-19 and politics don’t go together. You need to come together and speak one language and it is only when you speak one language that you will make progress against COVID-19,” Aceng stressed.

She said one of the critical actions that must be addressed is mobilizing the entire district to respond to COVID-19.

Meanwhile Mr Nahori Oya, the Arua resident district commissioner who doubles as the district coronavirus task force chairperson commended the ministry for supporting the task force with funds and food to manage the situation.

He reported that there is high level of compliance from the people of Arua when it comes to COVID-19 guidelines including the lock down.

Arua has five cases of COVID-19 being managed at Arua regional referral hospital and 15 contacts under quarantine at Arua Nursing school.

Dr. William Worodria, the National chairman of COVID-19 case management team said all the five patients have presented mild symptoms and are being monitored regularly.

The meeting was also attended by Mr Bernard Atiku, the Ayivu county MP who used the opportunity to donate 8 CCTV cameras and a laptop to Arua regional hospital to be install at the treatment centre.