Updated at 1436 EAT on FEB 16th 2022
Uganda is past the third wave of COVID-19, Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has announced. She revealed this during a press briefing at the health ministry headquarters in Kampala, Tuesday.
“While the country is out of the 3rd COVID-19 wave, registering a low positivity rate and no district in alert or response phase, I appeal to the population to continue following SOPs ( Standard operating Procedures) and get vaccinated! It is me and you to show responsibility for our health and safety,” Health Minister said.
The Omicron variant, which is over 40 times more infectious than other variants of COVID-19 drove the country into a third wave. The variant was first discovered in South Africa in November 2021.
Uganda Virus Research Institute detected the variant in Uganda in early December last year. Records from the Health Ministry show that Uganda entered the third wave in December 2021 and peaked in the first week of January 2022.
Between December 2021 and January 2022, the country registered more than 32,067 COVID-19 cases and more than 246 deaths. Now with 862 cases and 37 deaths reported in February and a positivity rate of one percent, officials from the ministerial COVID-19 scientific task force, say the third wave of the virus has come to an end.
While this should be good news, Dr Aceng warns that this should not be a reason for people to stop observing public health measures.
Scientists from the World Health Organisation warned that the Omicron variant is not the last that the world has seen. In a meeting last month, the COVID Technical Lead, Dr Maria Van Kherkove said that the next big variant is around the corner.
Dr Misaki Wayengera, the chairman of the Scientific Committee, says that the world is not yet COVID-19 free and other variants of concern can be detected at any time.
He says the public needs to remain vigilant. “The Omicron variant will not be the last we see. We are going to live with COVID-19 for a while but as we do this we can protect ourselves by getting vaccinated, wearing masks and washing out hands. We have used these measures during two COVID-19 waves and they work. So as the third wave ends, the next variant of concern is around the corner,” Dr Wayengera said.