Uganda Lawyer petitions minister to discharge cartoonist Spire from quarantine

Mamos Media

Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng addressing the media City lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde has petitioned the minister of Health to discharge renowned The Observer cartoonist and columnist Dr Jimspire Ssentongo from institutional quarantine. Ssentongo has under quarantine since March 19 when he arrived into the country from the United Kingdom.

He was initially supposed to be quarantined for 14 days in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on the incubation period for the coronavirus disease which has so far infected more than one million people across the globe.   According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, persons who contract coronavirus will most likely develop symptoms between five and 14 days after their exposure to the new virus.  

But Ssentongo has so far spent 21-days in quarantine despite testing negative on two different occasions. According to the ministry of Health, his quarantine was extended after members of the same group that was quarantined at Arch apartments in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb tested positive for COVID-19.  

Now Ssemakadde wants the Health minister Dr Ruth Aceng to discharge Ssentongo and others because they have already completed the mandatory 14-days. He accuses the minister of abusing her powers under the law to delay the issuance of discharge certificates to persons in quarantine.     “Our clients have already been in institutional quarantine for the mandatory fourteen (14) days. However, we understand that you and your officers have abused and/or misused your powers under the law to delay the issuing of discharge certificates to our clients whilst making a series of unjustified claims in the media to the detriment of our clients’ health, liberty and dignity,” he says in the petition. 

Ssemakadde says the minister is using a series of unjustified claims to justify her decision, to the detriment of his client’s health, liberty and dignity.    According to the lawyer, the extended quarantine tantamount to unlawful detention, torture and inhumane treatment contrary to the provisions of the Constitution and Public Health Control of COVID- 19 Rules.  
The lawyer now wants the Health Minister to urgently engage with relevant officials from her ministry to design a more rational and reasonable arrangement that will lead to the discharge of their clients from Institutional quarantine promptly and equitably without endangering the public.   

The spokesperson of ministry of Health Emmanuel Ainebyoona advises that officials are working on the discharge process.

Credit to Observer.

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