President Museveni said Wednesday that one of the three Covid-19 tests he undertook in the morning turned out positive with the virus, days after World Health Organisation (WHO) said the pandemic, which killed millions of people and wreaked economic and social havoc, no longer constitutes a global health emergency.
“This morning, I was feeling as if I had a cold. I took a rapid Coronavirus test which indicated negative. However, my samples were taken for a deeper analysis. One was negative and the other positive. So, I am a suspect of Corona as I speak. That’s why I came in a separate car with Maama,” Mr Museveni said during his State-of-the-Nation address boycotted by Opposition MPs protesting what they described as “careless spending”, especially on “costly Covid-19 tests” for anyone to attend the president’s public meetings.
Earlier, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament had slammed state house, arguing that testing for Covid-19 before meeting the president was a waste of public resources which could be channeled into other developmental activities.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to Covid-19 as a global health emergency. However, Gen Museveni continues to waste public resources to specific companies owned by individuals close to the regime on COVID tests whenever he meets people both at his home and other parts of the country,” Mpuuga told journalists hours before Mr Museveni’s address at Kololo.
Mr Mpuuga then advised Mr Museveni, 78, and his family to take a booster dose if he was “anxious about Covid-19.”
During the address, however, the president said Uganda’s health capacity in vaccine development and other interventions like spreading malaria awareness and prevention had been strengthened over the last three years after the outbreak of Covid-19.
Early last month, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared Covid-19 over as a global health emergency.
The move came after the WHO’s independent emergency committee on the Covid crisis agreed it no longer merited the organisation’s highest alert level and “advised that it is time to transition to long-term management of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
But the danger was not over, according to Tedros, who estimated Covid had killed “at least 20 million” people — about three times the nearly seven million deaths officially recorded.
“This virus is here to stay. It is still killing, and it’s still changing,” he said.
“The worst thing any country could do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that Covid-19 is nothing to worry about.”
The UN health agency first declared the so-called public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) over the crisis on January 30, 2020.
That was weeks after the mysterious new viral disease was first detected in China and when fewer than 100 cases and no deaths had been reported outside that country.
But it was only after Tedros described the worsening Covid situation as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, that many countries woke up to the danger.
By then, the SARS CoV-2 virus which causes the disease had already begun its deadly rampage around the globe.
“One of the greatest tragedies of Covid-19 is that it didn’t have to be this way,” Tedros said, decrying that “a lack of coordination, a lack of equity and a lack of solidarity” meant “lives were lost that should not have been”.