By: Umar Kisekka

A Pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the World Health Organization office in China on 31st December 2019, and declared a Public Health Emergency of international concern on 30th January 2020. Uganda as a country has so far registered 33 cases.

By 30th March 2020, there were more than 700,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the globe, more than 30,000 deaths and 203 countries with confirmed cases. This number also includes the 33 cases confirmed in Uganda.  

These are tragic numbers which have consequently brought about the lockdown in different countries so as to stop the pandemic from spreading; including Uganda. 

However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 100,000 people have recovered from COVID-19 globally.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the Director-General of WHO, while addressing the media about the state of the pandemic on 27th March 2020, said that the chronic global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is one of the most urgent threats to their collective ability to save lives.

To date, WHO has shipped about two million individual items of PPE to 74 countries and is preparing to send a similar amount to 60 more countries.

“Unite to confront the pandemic together. We are one humanity, with one, common enemy. No country can fight alone, we can only fight together,” said Dr Tedros.

However, to date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat Coronavirus.

Consequently, possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation according to WHO and some patients are recovering.

WHO however advises that the most effective ways an individual can protect against the lethal virus is by frequently cleaning hands with clean water and soap or sanitizers, cover the mouth while coughing with a tissue or by the bend of the elbow, and maintain a distance of at least one meter from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Since the start of the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been supporting African governments with early detection by providing thousands of COVID-19 testing kits to countries, training dozens of health workers, and strengthening surveillance in communities. Forty-seven countries in the WHO African region can now test for COVID-19.

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