COVID-19

#Covid19 in Uganda Update: President Y. K. Museveni eases on the lockdown…

Kampala 4th May 2020 – President Y. K. Museveni made the 13th Presidential Address to the Nation on the state of the coronavirus pandemic in Uganda. The lockdown has been extended by another 14 days effective 5th May 2020, subject to few eases.

The #covid19 confirmed cases in Uganda now stand at 97, of which 55 have fully recovered and discharged. Uganda has zero confirmed covid19 related death. New #covid19 cases continue to be confirmed in the country since the lockdown. No one knows for sure what is being done to manage the pandemic, specifically the new cases or it is a ‘wait and see’ game.

While addressing the nation, Y. K. Museveni posed and answered three questions as a justification to the lockdown extension- Is this disease with a vaccine? Is it treatable? Is it avoidable by behavior? He added that “in the case of #covid19, eventually all the three are possible.”  However, number one (vaccine) is still being worked on globally – and here in Uganda – but a vaccine will take some 18 months.

Is it treatable? Yes, he said.

And added that “although there is no specific medicine, the body needs to be supported. Treatment, though, requires smaller numbers which the medical workers can concentrate on.”

The President announced the easing of the lockdown restrictions. The following businesses can now open for business:

  1. Hardware shops
  2. Repair workshops and garages
  3. Metal and wood workshops
  4. Wholesalers will be allowed to open. But they must observe the social distancing rules. Warehouses should not apply air conditioning where there are
  5. Insurance providers
  6. Agriculture will continue to function
  7. Business and other activities have crooks – so we need lawyers. Therefore, the Uganda Law Society will be allowed a quota of 30 lawyers at any one point to provide legal services, says Museveni.
  8. Restaurants will be open but will be allowed to only provide takeaway services.
  9. Warehouses shall also be

Public transport remains suspended until after 14 days effective 5th May 2020, when such a decision shall be reconsidered. For now, people may go to work using private cars (no more than two people in the vehicle, and you must have a sticker to drive); or you can cycle and or walk to and fro home.

The President allowed lawyers to work, explaining that many people need representation in courts of law. Other professionals, apart from medical doctors, continue under lockdown for the next two weeks.

Schools, prayer places plus other facilities that attract large numbers to stay closed, until further notice.

All the reported new cases in Uganda are imported ones, because of the cargo track drivers to and through Uganda from Kenya and Tanzania. Once inside the country, there are no effective monitoring mechanisms to know the people the drivers get in touch with along the routes. It should be noted that truck drivers are some of the leading vectors for the spread of HIV/AIDs along the highways in the region. Without control, and truck drivers have established ‘resting’ points along the highway where they take advantage of women. This is a practice government must address as it could prove catastrophic in the spread of the coronavirus in the villages where there are no mechanisms to track and quarantine cases.

My take on the Address

  1. Covid19 is still a big global problem, as cases continue to rise. The President is taking all precautions to manage the virus. And I am with him on this. The old wisdom, prevention is better than treatment, holds.
  2. The new confirmed cases because of track drivers are a cause for concern. The extent of the problem is yet to be ascertained; it appears. The next 14 days provide an adequate window to determine this. When it comes to a health crisis like #covid19, data is the best tool to inform decisions.
  3. Though covid19 has an average of 7.02% case fatality rate, it is deadly as it overwhelms health systems and leads to a state of helplessness. The President, and Cabinet, are doing the best to prevent such a scenario. I support the President that it is better to miss school than put the country into a crisis that is difficult to overcome without serious damages. With the few cases thus far, health facilities can adequately deal with them and give them the necessary attention, and this explains the zero-fatality rate to date.
  4. The lockdown easing was intended to help health workers and other people to get essential services as car repair and construction works. Otherwise, the economy is still under lockdown.
  5. Now is the time to embrace technology is whatever you do to navigate this period. People who lack a proper grasp of technology shall lose their jobs.

When faced with a problem, the first rule is to stay alive. The second rule is to stay alive. And so is the third rule. You can always find work or what to eat when you are alive.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay alive.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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