Coronavirus cases in the East African country of Uganda have spiked amid the country’s worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Since last week, positive cases have increased by 131% — reaching all-time highs, according to The Guardian.
- Last year, Uganda imposed one of Africa’s earliest and strictest lockdowns, successfully containing the first wave of the virus, said CNN.
- June 6, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has reimposed restrictions on schools, travel, and gatherings for the next six weeks, reported The Guardian.
Experts believe that Uganda’s reported cases and deaths are undercounted because of the country’s low testing capacity, said The Guardian.
How bad is Uganda’s recent coronavirus surge?
Uganda has recorded over 55,000 COVID-19 cases and over 400 deaths in its population of 47 million people, reported Reuters.
- Between January and April, Uganda had a positivity rate below 3%. Cases began climbing in May and positivity rates reached 18% on June 2, said Reuters.
- ”In the previous wave, it took us 3-4 months to get to the current state of critical and severe patients. While in the second wave, it has taken us less than two weeks to get to the same situation,” President Museveni said per CNN.
- On June 4, Uganda reported its highest single-day case count with 1,259 new cases, per CNN.
The recent spike has come from younger people with clusters of infections being traced to schools, reported Reuters.
- Other clusters of infections have come from health care workers, intensive care units and isolation centers, said The Guardian.
- Museveni said per The Guardian, “we are concerned that this will exhaust available bed space and oxygen supply in hospitals.”
Why have Uganda’s coronavirus cases spiked?
No explanation has been given specifically for Uganda’s recent surge in cases. However, the BBC’s analysis of recent COVID-19 surges across Africa has pointed to new variants as a potential cause and concern, including the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India.
What is Uganda’s vaccination campaign like?
In short: barely existent.
So far, Uganda has vaccinated less than 2% of the population, according to CNN. The country has received only one million doses of AstraZeneca through the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative, reported The Guardian.
- Tuesday, Uganda suspended its mass vaccination campaign due to a shortage of vaccines, reported CGTN.
Museveni announced Sunday that the country was trying to procure additional supplies of China’s Sinovac, Russia’s Sputnik-V, and the U.S.’ Johnson & Johnson vaccine. No timeline was given, said CNN.