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COVID-19: Quarantined Ugandans declare hunger strike

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A cross-section of people held under quarantine in Kampala and Entebbe have declared a hunger strike after the Health ministry extended their stay for another 14 days.
Although many had completed their institutional quarantine towards the end of the week, the government said they will all have to stay for another 14 days after one of the quarantined persons tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Reacheal Namutebi, who is held up in Arch apartments says that their fear is that they will be held longer than expected, adding that although a positive case was discovered a week ago, the new policy on quarantine has been abruptly enforced without due consideration of their plight.

“I am stressed, I have a headache because of this and we are all worried. The problem is that some cases might come as a result of the bad quarantine system,” she says.

Some of the protest notes written by the quarantined individuals

Another person quarantined at Entebbe Central Inn said she was starting a hunger strike in protest of her continued detention. At the Entebbe based Central Inn, there are 45 people under quarantine.

“This is now day 17 in Covid quarantine. We were tested on the 14th…a directive was brought in a day before of institutional quarantine whilst we were in air travelling over here…we observed well the travel advisory…The tests were carried on the 14th we have health certificates,” she said.

The Uganda Virus Research Institute director Dr Pontiano Kaleebu says that scientifically if the people under quarantine did not mix and were locked up in their rooms, they should be cleared to go.

He says that they had a meeting during the week where it was said that when someone tests positive in a hotel, the people there should have their stay extended. He, however, referred the matter to Dr Henry Kyobe, the COVID-19 incident commander.

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