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Uganda starts mass testing lawmakers for COVID-19

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Uganda’s Prime Minister, standing center-left, addresses Members of Parliament in Kampala, Uganda Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Ugandan police on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse protesters and arrested dozens of people opposed to plans to introduce legislation that could allow the longtime president Yoweri Museveni to extend his rule. (AP Photo/Ronald Kabuubi)

Uganda on Thursday began the mass testing of its 426 legislators and their staff for the new coronavirus, a parliamentary spokeswoman said.

Uganda has officially recorded only 1,051 cases and zero deaths since March, but MPs requested the tests due to the nature of their work which involves meeting many people, said the parliament’s acting communications chief, Helen Kawesa.

Kawesa denied reports that an MP had been admitted to hospital with the virus, after a lawmaker wrote on Twitter that one of his colleagues was ill.

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“The medical screening of MPs for COVID-19 began this morning (Thursday). After the MPs have been screened, the parliamentary staff will be next”, she said.

“Parliament has no information that one MP tested positive for COVID-19 and is in hospital”.

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On top of its official cases, Uganda has also tested and refused entry to almost 1,500 positive truck drivers from neighbouring countries.

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