Uganda in total lockdown as covid19 scare heightens

KAMPALA 30th March 2020, President Y. K. Museveni announced new #covid19 prevention measures which are in effect a total lockdown of the country. The

KAMPALA 30th March 2020, President Y. K. Museveni announced new #covid19 prevention measures which are in effect a total lockdown of the country. The President said with regret that some people had disobeyed some of the earlier measures for example returnees from some high-risk countries for #covid19 were escaping from quarantine, even when it was mandatory. And, the ones in self-quarantine were also escaping, like the Chinese that was arrested on the Congo border with Uganda.

List of RDCs in case you need permission to transport a patient to hospital in your private car LIST-OF-RDCs.pdf (76 downloads)

Due to this, the President said, the risk of the virus spreading in the country was high. To this end, more restrictive measures were implemented.

Below are highlights of the new measures contained in the President’s speech on 30th March 2020, at 8:30 pm, as shared on social media. Below I reproduce with slight edits.

1) People to People movement including use of Private cars prohibited with effect from April 01, 2020, till April 14th, 2020

2) The opening of shopping malls and Arcadeshave been suspended effective April 1st, 2020

3) All non-food stores/shops have been closed effective April 1st, 2020.

Only the food stores and shops selling agricultural inputs, pharmaceuticals can remain open. The public is advised to embrace online shopping and home deliveries for groceries

4) Supermarkets to remain open with clear SOPs on minimizing infections within the supermarket. Specifically, standard operating procedures needed concerning the handling of trolleys and carts and social distancing.

5) Established food markets in Kampala and other towns shall only continue to be open but with the social distancing taken into serious consideration (a provision of at least four meters). Sellers and or factory workers should, however, organize accommodation for staff at premises of work for 14 days. The point is workers should stay close to their places of work. If factories can’t implement this, they should suspend production for 14 days, effective 1st April 2020.

7) All salons, lodges shall remain closed for 14 days effective April 1st, 2020

8) Construction firms that can’t abide by the accommodation facilities should be shut down for 14 days effective immediately.

9) Essential services include medical, banking, security, cleaning, garbage collection, fire brigade, KCCA staff, URA, telecoms, UNRA, funeral services, and utility service providers, and of course health services. These shall have the staff to continue working.

10) Cargo transportation by train, aeroplanes, lorries, etc should continue but with only three persons supervised by Minister of Works and transportation

11) Gatherings of more than 5 people prohibited down.

12) RDCs shall permit emergency medical situations like childbirth etc. If you have an emergency, obtain prior permission

13) Stay at your home and keep a social distance.

14) Government vehicles shall be pooled at the district offices for use by the Health Officers

15) A fund in UDB will be set to accelerate import substitution and export promotion. This pandemic has taught us a lesson to become self-reliant.

16) The government will discuss with Banks, utilities on credit obligations by Ugandans during this period

17) Government Employees should stay home except UPDF, UPF, Utilities, Banks, and even then, SOPs will be shared.

18) The government shall distribute food (maize flour, beans, powder milk, salt, sugar) to the less advantaged communities after close identification. Take note that opportunistic politicians distributing food will be arrested as they pose a health risk to the community and charged with attempted murder

19) Stop trying to take people to the hospital, you may in the process of doing good be spreading the virus to the community

20) Contributions received: USD150, 000 from Tony Elumelu of Nigeria and Two jeeps from the Chinese in Mbale. I shall use the money to buy more cars to help health workers.

21) Let us not lose people on account of indiscipline; not washing hands, congregating in numbers, touching the soft parts of the face with unclean hands

To read the whole speech, click here.

MORE-GUIDELINES-ON-CORONA-VIRUS-30-MARCH-2020.pdf (171 downloads)

These measures are on top of all the previous directives.

Although the #covid19 cases reported in Uganda are still at 33, the problem could be higher due to the fast spread of the virus. The new measures are welcome.

We need to note that Uganda lacks a developed health system. If the pandemic arrives in full swing, the country shall be overwhelmed, just as the developed economies have been. With a case mortality rate at an average of 5% in Europe and America, covid19 is deadly due to the sheer numbers that get infected and need intensive care. Kenya, the most developed country in East Africa, has just below 300 intensive care beds in the country!

Uganda has far less

The President’s directives and total lockdown is a welcome move.

Now we are all concerned about life. How do we navigate past this pandemic? Much as one would like to stay at home, you find that you have run out of supplies and you need money to buy food. Some homes lack steady water supplies and means for cooking.

These are challenging times indeed. The government must establish a special monitoring unit to visit people in homes to provide home care support. The treatment, in this case, is food. The President’s announcement that food shall be provided to people especially those in towns is welcome. Timelines and the distribution strategy should be announced as soon as possible so that the process is fair, transparent and adequate.

We pray that the country and the world at large goes past this pandemic.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.


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