COMPANIES TO PAY FOR COVID-19 TESTS

 While the government will continue to offer free covid-19 testing services to persons with symptoms of the disease and to all contacts of those who test positive, a testing fee will now be charged for those companies and departments who want to have their staff tested.

The move will enable the ministry of health to continue acquiring testing kits to make testing services available in the country. Employers who want their staff tested for covid-19 will be paying close to a quarter of a million shillings ($65) per person to be tested.

A memo from the office of the ministry of health permanent secretary sent of August 27th notifies governmental and corporate employers that the testing fee of ugx 240,500 will payable in Stanbic Bank account number 903001765983 for the persons to be able to be tested.  The memo is addressed to all Permament Secretaries, the Clerk to the National Assembly, all Executive Directors, all Chief Administrative Officers, all Town Clerks, all Referral Hospital Directors, all Managing Directors of corporations and the Director of Immigration in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

It is copied to the Secretary to the Treasury, the Auditor General, the Secretary to the Cabinet/Head of Civil Service Assistant and to his deputy. The step has been taken in light of the increasing demand for testing against a background of rising infections in the country due to community spread of the disease, Since late July when the first Ugandan died of covid-19, the death toll has risen to 29 victims, 20 of them from Kampala.

There has been a marked decline in the capital in observance of the ministry of health guidelines, with 25 shopping complexes already named and shamed by the police for violating the SOPs and now facing sanctions. On the other hand, Karamoja sub region tops the country in observing the guidelines, with strict checking of persons and vehicles entering Karamoja.

The initial response to the government guidelines was so good that to date, only 2,500 of the 350,000 tested samples have tested positive for covid-19, which is an impressive less-than-one percent infection rate.

The ministry has categorically stated however, that testing for covid-19 remains free for all persons who present with signs of the disease at health facilities, frontline health workers, those tested in community surveys and contacts of those who test positive.

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