COVID-19

Covid19 is here to stay, what next for Uganda?

Uganda has been under lockdown for slightly over 60 days now but it seems the economy cannot take it anymore. As of today, the total reported confirmed cases now stand at 198, with 68 recoveries and no coronavirus related death. 

On 21st May 2020, the President issued a Directive to deduct all foreign truck drivers from Uganda’s cumulative case count, which reduced the total tally from 264, by 119 total cases. Be it as it may, the total case count has increased from the nine (9) confirmed cases on 23rd March 2020 to the current total numbers at 198.

The indications are that the government plans to open the economy on 26th May 2020.  The questions are: has the pandemic come under control? Has the country expanded and or improved the overall preparedness of the health facilities country-wide to handle coronavirus cases that could increase because of the lockdown easing? Has the government established more capabilities to manage the cases than it had at the time of implementing the lockdown?

What next?

  • The coronavirus cases have continued to increase, day-on-day since the lockdown. Even after the government of Uganda deducted the cases due to foreign truck drivers, reported cases are very high. As of today, the government has implemented tough controls over truck drivers – where they must first be tested to be allowed entry. However, considering that covid19 symptoms start to show two to fourteen days after infection, the efficacy of such controls may not be effective
  • Other countries have been implementing tough controls over the management of the pandemic since they implemented a lockdown. Some of these controls are (i) anyone in public must wear face masks. Failure to do so, attracts on spot arrest. In some countries, failure to wear a face mask in public attracts three years of a prison sentence, no questions asked. (ii) Mandatory disinfection spray has been implemented in public places by the government. If you are driving into a city, you must put your windows down, and your car will be sprayed automatically inside and out, including all people inside, no exceptions allowed as long as you must drive into the city. (iii) Besides, at key points, monitors and automatic sensors now measure each person’s temperature and track their movements. This allows for instant case identification and quarantine in case need be. (iv) All public places now are required to implement social distancing rules. No exceptions. And many more controls to flatten the curve and proactively prevent the spread of the virus. Countries have planned for the worst-case scenario – that coronavirus is here for some time and therefore a lockdown is not the solution.
  • Managing the pandemic is the way to go. A continued lockdown may be the right thing to do but could be out of touch with reality. People must start working. The pandemic may be around for some time. The best way is to implement strong controls and enforcement of such controls without favor

Do you think the Uganda government should lift the lockdown come 26th May 2020? If yes, why? If now, why?

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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