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UGANDA: Museveni Announces 14 Days Lock Down Over COVID-19

The World Health Organization in its situation report predicts that going by the current trend, Uganda will by April 15 have 1051 confirmed Coronavirus cases

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  1. The President directed the Police to arrest any person who will try to politicize the distribution of the food, and anybody involved in the fracas and be charged with attempted murder.
President Yoweri Museveni.

The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has ordered for a shutdown of all passenger

movements in the country for a period of two weeks, except for essential service providers, as a means of combating the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The president in his address to the country on Sunday 30th March, 2020, was giving an update on the COVID-19 situation and offer more guidelines on what to do to stem the spread.

According to the President, a selec COVID19 team gave him a report on what they think should be done to combat the spread of the deadly pandemic.

“It is only wise to lock down now so as to control the spread of the pandemic. This measure will be taken for 14 days but could be extended basing on the situation on the ground.

The lock-down will be implemented across the country effective March 30th, 2020 [10:00pm], so as to avoid the spread of the deadly pandemic amongst the citizens, a case which could prove difficult to combat especially in remote areas.

However, one can only move to nearby areas to buy essential items like food stuffs and medicine among other key stuff for use during this period.

The arcades, shopping malls, salons, hotels and lodges have also been directed to shut down for the next 14 days.

Exempted

President Museveni’s new guidelines however, allow all health facilities, telecommunication service providers, door to door delivery services, financial institutions, property management services, private security companies, cleaning services, firefighting, fuel station and garbage collecting companies to continue working.

“In order to deal with issues like mother child birth, permission should be sought from the office of the RDC in order to arrange for such movement,” guided the President.

All the non-food shops (stores) should also close. Only food stores, stores selling agricultural products, veterinary products, detergents and pharmaceuticals should remain open. The Ministry of Health should work out SOPs for those stores. Many people should not be allowed to congregate there and form lines to buy. Home deliveries should, instead, be encouraged.
The Super-markets should remain open but with clear SOPs that should restrict numbers that enter and leave the site at a given time and the handling of trolleys within the super-markets. Alot of people can be infected by handling the unsterilized trolleys within the super-markets.
The established Food Markets in Kampala and the other towns should continue to be open. However, two precautions must be observed. One, the distance of four metres to the front, to the left, to the right and

Whereas factories are allowed to remain operating, workers are only permitted to camp on site or else, the production be shut down.

Government workers have also been directed to stay at home for the next 14 days, except for the security, water and electricity and as will be guided by the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health. Even before that, the SOPs should be worked out for the soldiers who do not stay in the barracks.

Distribution Of Food

The President admitted that the government Ainti-corana-virus actions have left the drivers and other people especially in town centers, out of work and he announced that government will distribute food to them in form of posho, beans, after properly identifying them.

The President also directed that no body will be allowed to distribute any food to the people as a means of what he described as “cheap popularity.”

The President directed the Police to arrest any person who will try to politicize the distribution of the food, and anybody involved in the fracas and be charged with attempted murder.

The Threat

The World Health Organization in its situation report predicts that going by the current trend, Uganda will by April 15 have 1051 confirmed Coronavirus cases and therefore, in a bid to curb this, there is need to control movement of people.

The Pandemic

The Ministry Health on Sunday 29th March, 2020, announced that the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Uganda are 33.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, government has put in place several measures aimed at combating the spread of Coronavirus.

In the beginning, Government banned all social, cultural, political and any form of gatherings that saw churches, mosques, schools, universities, and facilitates crowding, shut down for a period of 32 days.

The guidelines have also seen public transport suspended for two weeks.

He explained that it is in the interest of the citizens’ health that they avoid gatherings which would be a fertile ground for the Coronavirus to spread.

Uganda now has 829 people under institutional quarantine and those who had escaped from the isolation facilities have also returned.

IGAD Meeting On COVID-19

Earlier in the day, Museveni had a virtual meeting with other heads of States of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

They included Uhuru Kenyatta [Kenya], Abiy Ahmed Ali [Ethiopia], Ismail Omar Guelleh [Djibouti], Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed [Somalia], Salva Kiir Mayadirt who was represented by Riek Machar [S.Sudan], and Abdalla Hamdok [Sudan].

According to the President’s Facebook post, Key on the agenda of the virtual summit was the regional response strategy to curb COVID-19, among others.

“I briefed Their Excellencies on the measures Uganda has taken to avert the spread of Coronavirus. I expressed solidarity with my colleagues in the fight against COVID-19 and assured them that we can defeat this disease,” read the President’s post.

According to the President, he also advised that the movement of cargo across the region be allowed to proceed, albeit under Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

“I urged that all countries continue to facilitate the sectors of Industry and Agriculture such that we do not run out of food and other essential products while we fight Coronavirus,” he concluded.

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Noah Omuya

Noah Omuya is the founder and CEO of Aica Media and a two time winner of the Media Challenge Awards (The best feature story writer- 2018 and the best Climate Change Photography Award- 2019). He has a bachelors degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University. He is also an alumni for; British Council Future News Worldwide Fellowship- 2020, Climate Tracker Energy Reporting Fellowship- 2020, InfoNile- Code for Africa Data Journalism Fellowship- 2020, the Media Challenge Fellowship, 2019 and British Council East Africa and Africa Writers Trust Master Class in Creative Writing- 2019. Omuya has specialized training in writing, strategic and multimedia communication, mainstream and online journalism, broadcast media and youth participatory radio, content development, and public relations. He is very much interested in sustainable development communication.

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