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Refugee camp hit by Covid-19 wave

By Jurugo Emmanuel

Leaders in Yumbe district and West Nile in Uganda have expressed fears over surging Covid-19 positive cases in Bidi-Bidi refugee Camp.

In a space of two days, the district recorded 53 positive cases all involving refugees who reportedly came from South Sudan and joined their relatives in the camp.

Reports from the revived Yumbe district COVID-19 task force indicated that most of the refugees used the 26 porous border points between Yumbe and South Sudan to cross into South Sudan and back, yet they were not screened for the virus.

Solomon Osakan, the Refugee Desk Officer for West Nile told URN that 13 refugees tested positive for the deadly disease that arrived mid last week and were currently in an isolation unit.

 He added that they have resolved to close all the porous border points as a measure to curb a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“All borders must be closed, this virus is deadly and people may lose lives,’’ He said.
Yumbe Resident District Commissioner Caroline Angoleret said they have resolved to immediately set up mobile testing centers in the four Sub Counties bordering South Sudan adding that they are also mobilizing the refugee communities to undertake vaccination.  

“I see it good if testing of refugees is done at all the corners because people will know their status,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, some of the refugees have found their way into Arua town creating panic among the population. 

Martin Oroch, the area Resident City Commissioner saidArua hospital, Ediofe, River Oli and Manibe Health Centers have been set up to carry out COVID-19 testing in the city to curb spread of the Virus.  

Currently, there were an estimated 699, 300 refugees in Yumbe district but the number keeps fluctuating as some of them keep sneaking into South Sudan and back to Uganda while over 80,000 were believed to be living in Arua City. 

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