Residents of Lajwatek in Koro in Gulu, a northern Uganda city are in panic after its members rushed to the accident scene involving Covid-19 patients believed to have contracted the virus.
The incident occurred around 4pm on Thursday 17 September 2020. The bus registration number UG 0291H was ferrying Covid-19 patients from Kitgum to Kampala for treatment.
Oola Peter Emmanuel, Secretary LC1 Lajwatek village expressed fear arguing that the incidents might lead to more community infections in his village after locals mixed up with patients unknowingly.
“Many people living nearby rushed to the scene including the passers-by to see what actually happened, we realized that they got mixed up with the patients that’s why we as leaders we are in panic because the patients were not wearing facemasks,” Oola asserted.
He said they are yet to connect with the Task Force so that immediate intervention is done to sort out the people.
Opiyo Charles, another eyewitness narrates , what happened to the Parliamentary Commonwealth bus along Gulu-kampala highway.
“I saw the bus coming but it was releasing strong smoke and immediately it came and parked near us and the bus caught flame from the front tyre but seemed the passengers knew what was happening and they rushed out. And after 20 minutes, an ambulance carrying medical personnel arrived at the scene. We saw them dressed in white overalls and started escorting the people at the roadside. We immediately suspected that maybe the bus was carrying Covidd-19 patients.
“In fact, at the particular time the bus stopped and people were rushing out, several road users came in contact with them (patients), even some police officers were within the patients”.
Then we saw the police fire brigade arrive to put off fire after about 25 minutes the incident happened” Opiyo narrated.
He appealed to community members who got in contact with the people from the bus to surrender themselves for the test Task force so that they are quarantined and tested.
Speaking to Dick Ouni, Aswa River Police Regional Fire Officer at the scene, he said the fire must have started due to mechanical problems.
“Preliminary inquiries say that there was a mechanical problem and fire erupted from the tyre and the bus was traveling from Kitgum to Kampala.” Ouni commented.
When contacted Bishop Loum Janani Surveillance Officer confirmed that a total of 25 patients were traveling Parliamentary Commmonwealth Parliament bus were brought to Gulu Regional Referral hospital.
“Nwoya, Amuru, Kitgum, Pader, Lamwo and whatever and whatever, we still had 150 plus patients within the community but right now others are coming to Gulu Main Hospital and others are being ferried to Kampala but we got this dismay. So, in total we still have 18 in Aswa Dam, 9 in Kitgum, 20 in Pader, 13 in Gulu, ….and so this thing is still many in the community,” Loum clarified.
He appealed to the patients still within the community to accept to be transported to Kampala for treatment. He said, buses have been released from Kampala to collect the positive patients within the community across northern Uganda.