Five MV Kalangala crew members quarantined upon arrival from Tanzania

Sunday May 24 2020

MV Kalangala which the five crew members have

MV Kalangala which the five crew members have been told not to leave after arriving from Tanzania on May 23, 2020. Photo by Eve Muganga  

By Daily Monitor

Five crew members of MV Kalangala have been placed under quarantine upon arriving at Nakiwogo Pier, Entebbe Municipality from Tanzania.
The crew members have been in Mwanza, Tanzania where they had taken the vessel for periodic mandatory docking inspection, for over a month.
Tanzania is one of the neighbouring countries with highest cases of Covid-19 and her last official update on April 29 listed 480 cases with 16 deaths.
Dr Andrew Menya, the officer in-charge of Covid -19 Ward at Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital said they could not risk letting the crew members to interact with other people on arrival, fearing that they could be infected with the virus.
“The crew members were tested before going and even when they reached Tanzania they were tested and were all negative. However, since they are from a country with rising infections, it is mandatory to test them again and possibly be in quarantine until their results are out,” he said.
Although the crew members have presented no known symptoms of Covid-19, they will be in isolation for 14 mandatory days.
“They [crew members] are going to remain on the vessel for these coming two weeks and they aren’t allowed to go anywhere,” Dr Menya added.
Due to rising water levels in Lake Victoria, MV Kalangala could not dock at Nakiwogo Pier, forcing its captain to dock about 100 metres away. Currently, the docking pier is cordoned off by UPDF officers.
Mr Sadala Musoke, the Executive Director Nation Oil Distributors Ltd, a firm that manages the vessel said the rising water levels are likely to disrupt their operations when the vessel resumes normal operations after the virus-induced lockdown.
“The pier is completely submerged in water and we just pray that the water recedes in the coming days so that our clients can be able to board the vessel without any difficulty,” he said.
MV Kalangala suspended operations on February 9 before it was taken for mandatory servicing. This was supposed to be done at Port Bell, Luzira dry docking site in Kampala but the site was still occupied by another vessel, MV Kaawa, prompting government to take it to Mwanza on April 5.
The vessel is the only reliable public means of transport for tourists and other people travelling to Kalangala Islands. It carries at least 200 passengers and 12 vehicles per trip.
All the privately owned vessels that had replaced MV Kalangala were last month suspended to contain the spread of coronavirus in the islands.
Currently, anyone traveling to Kalangala have to use the two ferries from Bukakkata landing site in Masaka to Bugoma Landing Site in Kalangala, a journey considered to be longer and expensive.