Uganda brings in LOCKDOWNS to control Ebola as outbreak continues to spiral
- Restrictions were put in place for 21 days in Mubende and Kassanda districts
- Bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and places of worship are closed
- There is an overnight curfew and residents can go in or out of their districts
Ugandan authorities have brought in Covid-style restrictions to help control its ever-growing Ebola outbreak.
President Yoweri Museveni announced he would bring in the tough rules for the two districts worst affected by the killer virus. Dozens have already been infected and nearly 20 patients have died.
There is now an overnight curfew, while bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and places of worship have been closed in Mubende and Kassanda.
And in scenes reminiscent of the bleakest days of the pandemic, movement in and out of the areas has been restricted. Residents cannot leave either district.
Cargo vehicles and others transiting from Kampala, Uganda’s capital, through ebola-hit parts of Uganda are still allowed to operate.
Measures will last for 21 days, with the goal of thwarting the spread of Ebola, which kills up to half of infected patients.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday announced he was bringing in Covid-style restrictions in Mubende and Kassanda districts, are worst affected by ebola, for 21 days
Since the initial outbreak of the virus was discovered in the central district of Mubende, cases have now been found in Kassanda, in the east, as well as in Kyegegwa and Kagadi, to the west
Announcing the lockdowns in a televised national address, Mr Musuveni said: ‘These are temporary measures to control the spread of Ebola.
‘We should all cooperate with authorities so we bring this outbreak to an end in the shortest possible time.’
Nineteen deaths and 58 infections have been logged across Uganda over the past month.
It is the country’s first ebola outbreak since 2019, when at least three people died.
Ugandan authorities were slow in detecting the outbreak, which began back in August when a ‘strange illness’ started infecting farmers.
President Museveni had previously ruled out lockdowns, arguing that Ebola does not require the same restrictions as Covid because it is not airborne.
National health chiefs did not announce the virus was behind the spate of cases until late last month.
There has been concern that some patients in the Ebola hot spots could try to seek treatment elsewhere.
One man fled Mubende and died at a hospital in Kampala earlier this month, rattling health officials.
President Museveni has ordered police to arrest anyone suspected to have the virus that refuses to isolate.
The Ebola virus — which has triggered at least 19 deaths and 58 infections during Uganda’s current outbreak — spreads very easily
Pictured: Mr Museveni attends during the 60th Independence Day celebration at Kololo independence grounds in Kampala wearing a facemask on October 10
The Sudan strain of Ebola, for which there is no proven vaccine, is behind the current outbreak in the country of 45million people.
But vaccines against the more common Zaire strain of Ebola have proven highly effective during recent outbreaks in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, which developed a Covid vaccine with AstraZeneca, has an Ebola vaccine that has been shown to induce an immune response to both the Sudan and Zaire strains in Phase 1 trials.
Its developers said it could be deployed in Uganda as part of a clinical trial once the authorities there gave regulatory approval.
‘We are working very closely with [the] Serum Institute to rapidly scale up the manufacture of this vaccine,’ said Teresa Lambe, the chief scientific adviser on Ebola at the Jenner Institute.
‘We are hoping to have a large number of doses, approximately 20,000 to 30,000 or more by mid-to-end of November,’ she said.
A source at the Serum Institute, the world’s biggest vaccine maker and part of a conglomerate run by Indian billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, confirmed this information.
The source said the Ebola vaccine doses would be supplied free of cost.
Ebola is an often-fatal viral haemorrhagic fever named after a river in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), that can be difficult to detect at first because fever is also a symptom of malaria.
It is spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person or contaminated materials.
Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding.
The virus first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in South Sudan and Congo, where it occurred in a village near the Ebola River after which the disease is named.
WHAT IS EBOLA AND HOW DEADLY IS IT?
Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, killed at least 11,000 across the world after it decimated West Africa and spread rapidly over the space of two years.
That epidemic was officially declared over back in January 2016, when Liberia was announced to be Ebola-free by the WHO.
The country, rocked by back-to-back civil wars that ended in 2003, was hit the hardest by the fever, with 40 per cent of the deaths having occurred there.
Sierra Leone reported the highest number of Ebola cases, with nearly of all those infected having been residents of the nation.
WHERE DID IT BEGIN?
An analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the outbreak began in Guinea – which neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone.
A team of international researchers were able to trace the epidemic back to a two-year-old boy in Meliandou – about 400 miles (650km) from the capital, Conakry.
Emile Ouamouno, known more commonly as Patient Zero, may have contracted the deadly virus by playing with bats in a hollow tree, a study suggested.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE STRUCK DOWN?
Figures show nearly 29,000 people were infected from Ebola – meaning the virus killed around 40 per cent of those it struck.
Cases and deaths were also reported in Nigeria, Mali and the US – but on a much smaller scale, with 15 fatalities between the three nations.
Health officials in Guinea reported a mysterious bug in the south-eastern regions of the country before the WHO confirmed it was Ebola.
Ebola was first identified by scientists in 1976, but the most recent outbreak dwarfed all other ones recorded in history, figures show.
HOW DID HUMANS CONTRACT THE VIRUS?
Scientists believe Ebola is most often passed to humans by fruit bats, but antelope, porcupines, gorillas and chimpanzees could also be to blame.
It can be transmitted between humans through blood, secretions and other bodily fluids of people – and surfaces – that have been infected.
IS THERE A TREATMENT?
The WHO warns that there is ‘no proven treatment’ for Ebola – but dozens of drugs and jabs are being tested in case of a similarly devastating outbreak.
Hope exists though, after an experimental vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, protected nearly 6,000 people. The results were published in The Lancet journal.
Source: Read Full Article