February 29, 2020

‘Stop Shaking Hands.’ Uganda’s Museveni Warns on Coronavirus


By Arinaitwe Rugyendo

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has written about the Coronavirus epidemic that has devasted China and some other parts of the world.

Writing from State House Entebbe earlier on today, the President warned Ugandans:

“Coronavirus is real, it does not kill as much and fast like Ebola, but spreads at a very terrific rate. It undermines economies because it is disruptive and inconvenient. If a country records a case of coronavirus, people will be quarantined, movements limited, businesses, schools, leisure parks closed, etc.”

As a measure, the President tells Ugandans to avoid shaking hands and heed to the call by the Ugandan Ministry of Health to take serious precautions.

earlier on today, aljazeera.com reported that latest updates on the disease as shown below:

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, February 29

10:00 GMT – Iran health ministry says nine new deaths 

Iran’s health ministry has said that 295 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the country in the last 24 hours, with nine new deaths reported. 

The new numbers bring the total deaths in the country to 43 among 593 cases. 

09:40 GMT – North Korea Kim Jong Un calls for stronger anti-virus efforts

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for stronger anti-virus efforts to guard against COVID-19, saying there will be “serious consequences” if the illness spreads to the country.

During a ruling party meeting, Kim called for the country’s anti-epidemic headquarters to strengthen screening and tests to seal off all “channels and space through which the infectious disease may find its way,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said. 

Kim said that all fields and units of the country should “unconditionally” obey quarantine instructions laid-out by the anti-epidemic headquarters, according to the Associated Press news agency. 

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 15, 2020 shows people in protective suits spraying disinfectant at an undisclosed location in No

An undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 15 shows people in protective suits spraying disinfectant at an undisclosed location in the country[AFP]

09:25 GMT – Saudi Arabia calls on citizens to postpone Lebanon travel

Saudi Arabia called on its citizens and residents to postpone travel to Lebanon over concerns of the spread of coronavirus, the Saudi embassy in Lebanon said on Twitter on Saturday.

Lebanon confirmed its fourth case of the virus on Friday and announced that it was closing all schools until March 8. 

09:10 GMT – Kuwait calls on citizens to avoid traveling

Kuwait is calling on its citizens to avoid traveling over concerns of coronavirus contamination, a health ministry official said at a media conference.

The Gulf state has not registered any new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, she said. The total number of people infected with the disease in Kuwait is 45, the health ministry said on Friday, which has reported no deaths.

08:30 GMT – S Korea reports 219 new cases

South Korea reported 219 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total infections to 3,150, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has said.

The new cases added to the 594 confirmed earlier in the day. Together they logged a record daily increase in infections since South Korea confirmed its first patient on Jan. 20.

07:55 GMT – Russia asks citizens to avoid foreign travel

A senior Russian official has called on citizens of the country to refrain from non-essential travel abroad over fears about the growing number of coronavirus cases internationally.

Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s consumer health watchdog, told local news agencies that Russians should stay put to avoid contracting the virus, according to Reuters news agency. 

“In order to consider yourself protected today, first of all possible future trips outside the native country need to be reduced as much as possible,” Popova said. “Now is a time when it is not worth leaving Russia.”

russia coronavirus

A family wearing a face mask walk in Biblioteka Imeni Lenina metro station in Moscow [Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP]

07:00 GMT – Taiwan reports five new cases 

Taiwan reported a five-person jump in new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, including four people who had contact with another infected patient in a hospital and one person returning from the Middle East, bringing Taiwan’s total to 39.

The government’s Central Epidemic Command Centre said a cleaner and three nurses were the four staff who had been infected at the hospital, which was treating another coronavirus case. The fifth new case is a woman in her 60s who went on a tour to Egypt and Dubai.

06:40 GMT – Australia bans foreign travelers from Iran

Australia’s health minister has said the country will ban foreign travelers arriving from Iran due the to country’s “high death rate” from coronavirus, the Sydney Morning Herald reported

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the ban will go into effect on March 1 and will last for 14 days. Australian citizens will be allowed to return from Iran during that time, but will be required to self isolate for 14 days, the newspaper reported. 

05:44 GMT – Uzbekistan Airways halts flights to Seoul 

Uzbekistan Airways will temporarily halt flights to the South Korean capital of Seoul from March 1, over concerns about a coronavirus outbreak in the Asian nation, the airline said on Saturday.

The airline halted flights to the Saudi Arabian cities of Jeddah and Medina over the growing number of virus infections in February. 

05:28 GMT – New coronavirus infection in Thailand takes tally to 42

Thailand recorded a new coronavirus infection, taking its tally to 42, a health official has said.

The newest case is a 21-year-old Thai salesman whose job brought him exposure to foreign tourists, Sukhum Kanchanaphimai, the permanent secretary of the health ministry, told a news conference.

Below is the full Statement by President Museveni:

Fellow citizens, people in Uganda, today I want to address you on the issue of Coronavirus.


This is an inconvenience to us and jeopardy to our economy, we do not want to head there as a country. However, Coronavirus is becoming a global threat and now approaching Africa, with a case confirmed in Nigeria and Egypt. This means that we must rely heavily on our personal behavior first, while the ministry of health guides us on other measures.


I am therefore appealing to every one of you, let us prevent this disease even at a personal level by precautionary behavior. 


This will not be the biggest we have gone through as a country, we fought Aids by behavior even before we got medicine. 


Now as the ministry of health guides us, let us take a personal decision not to shake hands unnecessarily or expose ourselves to conditions that will facilitate the spread of Coronavirus.


I implore those who have specific symptoms similar to Coronavirus, even as simple as a running nose, please self-quarantine from the rest and seek medical guidance and confirmation that you are free from infection. This goes to those in schools, places of work, markets and any form of gatherings.


For those in different places of prayer and worship, the Ministry of Health and its partners will be in touch with you on how we can operate without putting congregators at risk.


Take personal precautions, and look out for your colleagues too. The government will take all measures to safeguard you as well. Meanwhile, we shall keep studying this Coronavirus.


*H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni*

PRESIDENT OF UGANDA

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