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Home » Information » Uganda Coronavirus Update : March 18th 2020: President Museveni Closes All Schools, Public Meetings, Public Gatherings Due to Coronavirus in Uganda.

Uganda Coronavirus Update : March 18th 2020: President Museveni Closes All Schools, Public Meetings, Public Gatherings Due to Coronavirus in Uganda.

President Museveni addressed Ugandans for the first time in regards to the new Coronavirus in Uganda. As the world started coming to terms that we have been evaded by a new global crisis in form of a new virus that attacks people, many governments have started prepping their local masses to brace themselves for what is inevitable which is the spread of this novel coronavirus disease in each country.

His Excellency President Museveni Kaguta, the president of the Republic of Uganda also addressed the nation about this novel Coronavirus in Uganda with the emphasis being put on what the measures the government had taken to ensure that country was ready to battle the Coronavirus.

In his address, the president gave a full detail of measures that the government was to implement in response to this fast-spreading disease.

Is There a Cure for Coronavirus Disease / COVID-19?

In this address, the president informed the general public to be cautious since there is no cure for coronavirus – yet but he said that handwashing with soap remains the most effective way of keeping the virus at bay.

How is Uganda Prepared for Coronavirus?

The president assured Ugandans that Uganda is well prepared. “We have isolation centres.” “Prevention is better than cure.” “The president added. Some factories will begin manufacturing face masks…” said the president

How Will Hotels and Restaurants Operate?

The Health ministry permanent secretary Dr. Diana Atwine talked about hotels and restaurants. She also cautioned that every hotel and restaurant owners to screen all patrons that visit their establishments and also see that crowds in these places are minimized.

They must force everyone who enters their hotels and restaurants to wash their hands and dispose of used tissue properly.

What Will Happen toThose People Arriving in Uganda From Abroad?

In regards to what will happen to Ugandans and foreigners arriving into Uganda, Minister Aceng said that these will be put into an institutional quarantine at their own cost. “This is for your own safety. We want to ensure that your families are protected” said the minister. “Once you are found to have developed symptoms, it is easier to manage you while at the same time keeping your family safe.” The minister added. This announcement meant that the government is now doing mandatory quarantine – and doing away with self-quarantine.
“In many of the countries, the cases are imported, followed by local transmission and then community transmission – which is very difficult to manage,” says Aceng.

What Should the People Don’t to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus?

About avoiding the spread of this novel coronavirus, the president gave a number of measures Ugandans should implement. These included

Proper hygiene – ‘Avoid open coughing and sneezing’ “Anybody with a cough or cold should not go into public space,” says the President. “You should self-isolate yourself. Even at home, cough into a handkerchief, which should be washed regularly and well-ironed – or use disposal tissue, which should be flushed.”
The next danger is touching surfaces. “Once you avoid open coughing and sneezing and you wash your hands regularly, then you will not contaminate surfaces,” says Museveni. That way, the public will be protected.
Coughing or sneezing into an elbow. The World Health Organisation now recommends that we cough or sneeze into our elbow to prevent pollution.
On hand management, the public is urged to avoid touching the major openings of their skin, including the mouth, nose, eyes and ears.
Proper washing of the hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Why is washing hands with soap important? The virus has a fatty layer surrounding it. Soap punctures this layer, which helps destroy the virus.

What Measures Has the Government Taken to Avoid the Spread of Coronavirus?

On this note the president said that in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some sectors of the economy of were to be suspended. These included

Concerts, sports, merrymaking. The president informed the country that Sporting activities, entertainment concerts and any form of outdoor merrymaking are suspended for a month.
Public transport. The danger with public transport is that many people are seated next to each other, which creates a risk for the spread of the virus. The advice here is: Do not travel if it is not absolutely necessary. Additionally, the companies that operate these vehicles should have standard operating procedures in place.
For now, public transport should go on as usual with the SOPs adhered to. In case an outbreak of coronavirus is established in a particular area, public transport in that area will be banned.
Agriculture. In Uganda, farmers account for about 10 million families with a population of about 33 million people. Farmers, especially fishermen, should observe hygiene conditions. For cultivators and cattle keepers, monthly markets should be suspended for one month, says President Museveni.

Funerals too. “We recommend that the burial is done by the relatives who are nearby,” says President Museveni. Then the other rituals can be conducted later. If the deceased is suspected to have died of coronavirus, the State will handle the burial in a scientific way without the involvement of their family, adds the President.

‘Ugandan-style’ weddings prohibited. Ugandan-style weddings bring a pentagon of groups – clan members of bridegroom, clan members of bride, maternal clans of the two sides, school alumni and neighbours and friends, says Museveni. “These tend to be big gatherings of people coming from the six points of the compass. This multidirectional source of the feast attendants can be a source of great danger.” It has, therefore, been decided that weddings of this nature are postponed for 32 days. If the couple cannot wait, they should go for the “scientific marriage” of less than 10 people involved. “Mama Janet and myself did the scientific wedding back in 1973 and we have never regretted,” says President Museveni.
Public meetings banned. Other non-agriculture areas should continue operating, but with standard operational procedures (SOPs) conducted, including compulsory handwashing and any individual with symptoms not being granted access.
Moving out of the country. We are banning any outbound Ugandan nationals to the affected nations (Category One), adds the President. “We cannot stop Ugandans from coming from abroad. However, such Ugandans will be put into mandatory quarantine at their own cost – to cater for accommodation and food,” says Museveni.

Public meetings banned. Museveni says that public gatherings for politics and culture have also been prohibited for 32 days with immediate effect.
Religious gatherings banned  – ‘It is better to be a coward’. The President also announces that religious gatherings in any form have been immediately banned. “When it comes to health, it is better to be a coward and be on the side of caution,” he says. “Logically, the faster we run, the better.” “The prayers will continue – but in homes. Since God is Omnipresent, we can pray from home.” He urges religious leaders to use radios and TVs to continue with their preaching.
Government closes schools. President Museveni says the government has decided to temporarily close all schools in the country “so that we deny this virus” the 51,000 points in the form of schools and colleges. He says there are as many as 15 million pupils and students around the country. The president says he has decided to close schools even before a first case here in the country after “I have observed the situation in other countries”. The closure of the schools takes effect this Friday (March 20).

The ‘Dry grass’ example

The president says that Uganda should not allow the coronavirus to come in and get to the combustible “dry grass”. By dry grass, he means groups of people, including pupils and students, in which the virus can spread easily.

‘Healthy Young People May not Know of Their Infection’

Although the kill ratio of the virus is not high, this is only if the victims are in perfect health, the virus will kill only 3%. With healthy young people, some information says that he or she may not even know that he or she was infected.

The real danger to society, however, is to the older people and people with other diseases that they have been surviving with e.g. tuberculosis, HIV, diabetes, hypertension and even cancer, says the President.

Minister Aceng on Nutrition

After the President’s speech, he invited health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng to address the nation further on nutrition. It is very important that everybody drinks a lot of fluids because the infection of coronavirus dehydrates a victim, she said.

Aceng encouraged people to drink at least three litres of water every day for ideal hydration. “We want to encourage people to be frequent with their meals (so that just in case the virus strikes, it finds a victim healthy),” she added, also urging people to “ensure hygiene with whatever we are eating”.

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