Trucks wait in a line on the road to enter Uganda at Malaba in western Kenya on April 29. While addressing the nation on Monday, President Museveni said the new measures put in place had started yielding positive results because the positive cases are denied entry into the country. AFP PHOTO
By TONNY ABET
Even though most of the Covid-19 positive truck drivers were blending with the residents in the various parts of the country, the results of tests being done on samples collected from communities have not detected evidence of transmission.
Community transmission is when there is no clear source of origin of the infection in a new community.
Dr Julius Lutwama, a virologist and the deputy director of Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), said the prevailing report of no local transmission shows that people who are infected have not carried the virus to the communities.
“There is no one who has taken it [coronavirus] to the community. The policeman from Masindi [who tested positive for the virus last month] could have got it from a truck driver,” he told Daily Monitor in an interview on Tuesday.
Exposed but negative
Citing possible cases of people who got into contact with infected truck drivers but tested negative for the virus, the virologist explained that there is a dose of virus that must get into the body to get someone infected.
“If, for instance, you simply stop and buy maize and pass, there is no way you can spread the virus to someone who sold to you the maize,” he said.
Uganda turns away 103 Covid-19 positive truck drivers
He said even in cases where the truck driver was coughing or sneezing, if the amount that entered the body of the maize seller is too small, the body immune system fights it off and so the contact does not develop the infection.
“Even for contagious disease such as Ebola, it is not just about being next to someone with the virus. It is about getting into contact with the virus,” he explained.
“If [an infected] truck driver slept with a woman and the [woman’s] test result is still negative, then we shall know the testing kits have a problem,” he added.
Dr Lutwama also explained that people who are severely sick shed [spread] the virus more than those who are just developing the sickness are have little or no symptoms.
The virologist brushed off the assumption that Ugandans are resistant to the infection.
“There are Ugandans elsewhere in China and Europe who got infected and died. There is no reason to say Ugandans are differently affected by coronavirus,” he said.
Faulty? There have also been cases of fake testing kits reported by countries such as Italy and Spain in March.
However, Dr Lutwama said there is no chance that testing kits being used in the country are faulty. The expert said their kits undergo rigorous validation exercises before being used.