Corona Virus Update 3
The good news is that infection rates in Uganda remain very low, and are almost entirely amongst truck drivers entering the country from Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan via Mutukala, Busia and Elegu. The total number of cases as of this morning is 160 – but yesterday 21 truck drivers tested positive which is the highest number on any one day so far. On the plus side, 63 people have recovered and there have been no deaths recorded. The Minister for Health says there has been no evidence of community transmission.
The current ‘lockdown’ is to continue with some minor amendments – from 19th May it will be compulsory for face masks to be worn whenever anyone steps outside their home. This is partly because more shops are now allowed to open and partly in preparation for the reopening of public transport – which the President says can only happen if Ugandans comply with the compulsory wearing of masks.
One Ugandan manufacturer, Nytil, has started producing reusable masks which cost 2,000ugx (43p) each but these are apparently not good value as the material stretches and cannot be washed at high temperature. We have been debating with Milton how we can best ensure that the villagers are able to comply with the ruling. We have shared with him the NHS guidance on face covering so that he understands what it will, and will not do. After careful consideration he has decided that home made cotton masks are probably cheaper and will last longer.
This morning Milton visited the Tailor in Kyemula and together they calculated that it will take 120 metres of cloth to make 480 masks – and they will also need thread and elastic. In order to ensure the masks remain usuable Milton is going to purchase 4 box irons which can be used to iron the masks after washing. Tomorrow Milton will go to Mbale to buy all that is needed – plus 96 bars of soap – this is both because the soap we bought initially is running low and because families will need to launder their masks. Nothing is ever straightforward in Uganda!
Terri reports that Joseph has accessed a supply of paper masks for Namayili – he was in town yesterday buying more food supplies with money we have sent.
We are continuing to supply food parcels to those most in need, this was last week’s distribution in Kyemula. Milton has food in store for two more weeks.
A huge thank you to all our donors and supporters, your continued support has made this possible. Milton says, ‘At times I fail to find words that I can use to appreciate what is being done – but you can see the people and the gratitude they have’.