As with the Coronavirus, where schools and public places were closed, the Ebola virus suggests a similar scenario in Uganda. The authorities in this East African country have ordered the closure of schools in order to curb the spread of the disease, which has resurfaced since 20 September and has already claimed around 50 lives.
This measure comes into force on 25 November and covers all nursery, primary and secondary schools in the country. This decision was taken after 23 children were infected with Ebola in schools in Kampala (capital of Uganda) and the districts of Wakiso and Mende. Eight children have already died as of 6 November 2022, according to the official death toll announced by the Minister of Education and Sports of the Republic of Uganda, Janet K. Museveni.
“Closing schools early will reduce areas of concentration where children are in close daily contact with other children, teachers and other staff who could potentially spread the virus,” the Education Ministry said in a statement.
Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, who supported the Ministry’s decision, urged his government to “intensify public health awareness and subsequently try to better understand community, cultural and traditional issues.
The Ministry of Health “must intensify monitoring in the various affected districts,” the head of state added. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), children infected with the Ebola virus are at a higher risk of succumbing to the disease than adults.
Since the beginning of this month, Kassanda and Mubende, two districts considered to be the epicentre of the epidemic, have been under containment. The Ugandan President imposed a travel ban, curfew and closure of public places.
According to the government, the “Sudan” strain of the Ebola virus, which reappeared in the country last September, has already killed 53 people, including 8 children, out of 135 recorded cases. This rare, unvaccinated strain was last reported in the country in 2012.