The government and the Education ministry in Uganda have said that schools are unlikely to be opened any time soon, pointing at the imminent threat of a possible third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sources at the education ministry, however, had said a day before, that schools were scheduled to resume activity in a fortnight, with the Primary One, Two and Three pupils as well as Senior One and Two students setting the pace.
“What we expect now is the third wave and we are seeing some signals of the third wave coming. If the third wave comes and we already have increasing cases [to show that it is coming], then you can’t reopen schools,” said Dr Monica
According to Musenero, the senior presidential advisor on pandemics, the government is still sticking to the plan of sufficient vaccination before the reopening of schools.
“But we said it [reopening of schools] depends on the vaccination of teachers and children above 18 years. We also look at the epidemiological state of the country,” she said.
Since the mass vaccination activity kicked off, a total of 170,234 teachers had received their first jab and up to 61,848 had been fully vaccinated by August 26, with two doses out of the government target of 550,000 teachers in the country.
As a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools, the government had determined to first vaccinate at least 357,500 teachers, representing 65 per cent of the targeted number. To emphasize the safety of all learners upon the resumption of schools, the government pointed at the possibility of unemployment to any teacher that missed the vaccine.
In a tweet by Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, clusters of Covid-19 infections are already being reported in communities and hospitals are experiencing an increase in admissions.
“Soroti Hospital is receiving more admissions due to Covid-19 clusters in the sub-region. On August 24, at least 72 Covid-19 patients were admitted to Soroti [Hospital], Arua [Hospital] had more than 40,” he tweeted.
He added that there are several other positive patients admitted under home-based care. This means transmission is still ongoing, therefore pointing at the need to keep our preventive measures active and also observe all the Ministry of Health guidelines and SOPs.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, a total 119,915 cases have been registered, 3,012 people have died and 95,578 people recovered.
According to Dr Henry Kajumbula, the head of infection control and prevention in the Ministry of Health scientific advisory committee on Covid-19, the most important thing to prevent the third wave would be vaccination.
He also cited the possibility that vaccination might not do enough to prevent the third wave, but might help a lot to mitigate its impact.