Two journalists test positive for Covid-19

Journalists covering an event at the Ministry of ICT on June 06, 2020. Photo by Kelvin Atuhaire

Two Kampala-based journalists have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Ministry of Health.

“Dear Journalists, please take caution and observe the Ministry of Health preventative measures. The level of complacency among those covering the various activities/events is very high. It is unfortunate the two media houses have registered COVID-19 cases,” the Ministry of Health spokesperson Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona said in a tweet

The affected journalists are employees of Bukedde newspaper and NTV Uganda respectively. 

In a memo to staff, Vision Group MD Mr Robert Kabushenga said the case at his media house is being handled with the guidance of the Ministry of Health. 

“Management is tracking all the possible contacts at the office and will collaborate with the medical workers to facilitate further tests. Those identified as having been in contact with the concerned staff will be required to stay at home and isolate for a period of 14 days” he said. 

Similarly, Nation Media Group MD, Mr Tony Glencross said that though his staff member is asymptomatic, they have been isolated in line with the Ministry of Health guidelines. 

“We have activated our internal protocols to ensure the safety of our staff and are working with the Ministry to trace and test all contacts,” he said. 

Sources from the two media houses say that the cases were discovered during tests carried out on all journalists who were slated to cover a presidential event.

Uganda has so far registered a total of 1,560 cases and 15 deaths, according to the latest information from the Ministry of health. 

More cases in media 

On Tuesday, Radio Parcis Director Fr Charles Idraku announced that five staff of the Arua Diocese Media Centre had tested positive for Covid-19. This was after the media centre invited Ministry of Health teams to test all their staff for safety purposes.

Covid-19 Prevention tips for journalists

The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides tips and advice for journalists in its handbook titled, “Covid-19: An informative guide for journalists,” as follows;- 

  • Assess your personal risks before the assignment. If you are over 60-years-old or have any underlying conditions, consider refraining from coverage that could expose you to the virus. 
  • Follow the same public health advice as for the general population: 
    •  Wash your hands often and properly 
    • Maintain physical distancing 
    • Avoid touching your face 
    • Sneeze or cough in your elbow or a tissue 
    • Seek medical help in case of symptoms. 
  • Follow WHO guidelines on the rational use of masks. If you use one, be sure to put it on and remove it properly and to wash your hands. 
  • Seek virtual or telephone options for interviews in order to reduce the risk of exposure. 
  • Tell your supervisors and colleagues about the risks and concerns when covering the pandemic. 
  • If you are going to cover a city or area that is on lock-down, be sure to have a contingency plan. 
  • Avoid congregating outside health facilities. 
  • If you are authorized to enter a health facility and it is strictly necessary, protect yourself by following all the recommendations of the health workers. 
  • Stay at least one metre away from people who are sick and avoid close contact. 
  • During press conferences, follow the physical distancing recommendations established by health officials. 
  • Clean any used equipment with antimicrobial wipes followed by disinfection and wash your hands. 
  • During press conferences, follow the physical distancing recommendations established by health officials. 
  • Clean your equipment with an alcohol-based solution after the assignment. 
  • Take care of your mental health: 
    • Be aware of a potential psychological impact 
    • Talk to your family or friends about your concerns 
    • Try to avoid talking about COVID-19 outside of work 
    • Get enough rest 
    • Seek mental health support if needed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been edited to include information on the cases at Radio Parcis in Arua. 

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