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CAPE TOWN – Two suspects are being detained in Uganda on allegations of stealing 40 oxygen cylinders as Covid-19 cases surge in the country.
The 40 oxygen cylinders were reportedly taken from the Mbale Regional Referral Hospital to a private health facility, Daily Monitor reported on Thursday. One of the suspects is said to be a doctor from a private clinic.
Mbale Hospital is roughly 250km east of Uganda’s capital, Kampala.
“We started our investigations and we received intelligence information that the cylinders were stolen and taken to a private health facility,“ Elgon police spokesperson Rogers Taitika said.
A search was conducted and one oxygen cylinder of 50 litres was traced to the private clinic, Taitika added.
Investigations are ongoing and the two suspects are being detained at Mbale Central Police Station.
The incident comes at a crucial time as Uganda faces a surge in Covid-19 cases.
The highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in a single day was reported by the BBC on Friday after 1,438 people tested positive on June 8.
A total of 1,259 confirmed cases in one day was the country’s previous highest count as recorded on June 4 and reported by President Yoweri Museveni in his national address on Sunday, June 6.
In his address, Museveni announced adjusted Covid-19 mitigation measures as the coronvirus situation has “dramatically changed” in the East African country.
Effective from June 6, schools were closed for 42 days, along with places of worship and other social gatherings, while inter-district public transport was suspended for 42 days as of June 10.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded a cumulative total of 56,949 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Uganda, with 402 deaths as of June 11.