Uganda on Thursday announced the country’s first fatality from the novel coronavirus.

According to Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the director general of health services, the deceased was 34-year-old woman who died in the Mbale District, eastern Uganda.

“This is critical and an eye opener for the general public. Many people thought Uganda had COVID-19 that is different from what the rest of the world is facing. We have now seen that COVID-19 is real, dangerous and kills. The community must follow public health preventive measures. Wear a mask always, wash hands frequently or use a hand sanitizer and maintain social distancing,” Mwebesa said.

Uganda has so far registered a total of 1,079 confirmed cases of the virus, with 971 recoveries. 

Since appearing in China last December, the virus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

More than 15.28 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, with over 624,600 deaths, and more than 8.7 million recoveries.

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