UGANDA: Chinese firm making smartphones with thermometer for battle against COVID-19

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President Museveni commissions Uganda's first mobile phone and computer manufucting and assembling factory in Namanve Industrial Park, Wakiso District, November 22, 2019. Courtesy Photo/File

Kampala, Uganda | AFRICATEMBELEA | As Uganda continues to ease the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, new procedures are being put in place to reduce the possible spread of the virus.

Along with social distancing, hand sanitization, and wearing masks, temperature screening is one of the requirements before entry into shopping malls, hotels, restaurants or hospitals.

A Chinese firm, ENGO Holdings Limited, located in the central Ugandan district of Mukono, has started assembling smartphones that have an infrared thermometer.

The firm, which is into assembling analog phones, smartphones, and computer laptops, told Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday that their new innovation is critical for businesses after over four months of lockdown.

David Beecham Okwere, secretary of the chief executive director of ENGO Holdings Limited, said the development of the device took a period of four months with support from the firm’s parent company in China.

Okwere said the phone is currently going through an approval process by the country’s standards agency, Uganda National Bureau of Standards.

He said preliminary tests have shown that the phone takes accurate temperatures without going through recalibration all the time.

Evelyn Anite, state minister for investment, told Xinhua in an interview that the development of the device is good news for Uganda and Africa especially at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing.

“This is exciting news not only for Uganda but also for Africa. The most important function in this phone during this coronavirus period is the thermometer gun,” Anite said.

The market price for the phone is about 100 U.S. dollars, according to Okwere. However, he noted that this may be expensive for the rural people, noting that the government may need to give the firm some concessions to make the device affordable.

Anite said the government may consider giving tax exemptions or other incentives to lower the price.

The ministry of health said such innovation is a big boost in the country’s fight against the pandemic.

Uganda as of August 14 had reported 1,385 COVID-19 cases, 1,142 recoveries, and twelve deaths since the index case was reported on March 21.

Xinhua News Agency

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