UGANDA DECLARES A 42-DAY COVID-19 TOTAL LOCKDOWN | UGANDA CORONAVIRUS UPDATES
Due to the continued rise in the covid-19 cases in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni in his June 18th, 2021 national address, Uganda declared a total 42-day Covid-19 lockdown with only the most essential sectors including tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, health, and medical services, security, utilities, and cargo transport open.
It should be recalled that during his June 6th, 2021 national address, President Museveni imposed a partial 42 day COVID-19 lockdown with new travel restrictions. He said the government will continuously observe compliance and make necessary adjustments accordingly. The president warned that if people fail to comply with the new measures within one week, he would enforce total lockdown.
Museveni, however, in his June 18th, 2021 national address commended Ugandans for following his directives and Ministry of Health Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) over the last 12 days. He also noted that, despite this positive trend, we need to do more to preserve and protect our health system and hence our lives. The measures are needed to address the fast rate at which the diseases are spreading and the dwindling oxygen supplies in hospitals, Museveni said.
Unlike last year when the airport was closed after the country confirmed its first case of Covid-19 on March 22, this time around, the facility will remain open. But as you plan to travel to Uganda on a Uganda safari or Uganda gorilla trekking safari, make sure that you are informed of the current covid-19 updates in Uganda, travel information, and entry restrictions. This will help you know what you have to do to keep safe during your Uganda gorilla safari.
THE CONTINUED RISE IN CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN UGANDA
According to Museveni, the country has seen a more aggressive and sustained growth of the COVID-19 pandemic as opposed to the earlier months of April and May 2021. Over the past 3 weeks, the daily number of people testing positive for Corona has increased from less than 100 to now over 1,700. This represents a 17 fold increase in daily cases. As a result, our epidemic curve is now on the steep rise with increased reports of deaths nationwide, said the president.
“The proportion of people testing positive from samples tested (Positivity Rate) has remained as high as 17%. Yet for us to control the disease effectively this number has to be less than 5%. To date, the country has registered a total of 68,778 COVID-19 cases; where 973 patients (Severe 894, Critical 79) currently on active admission at both private and public treatment facilities across the country, and 42 deaths reported today. This brings the reported total deaths to 542”, said Museveni.
He added that Cases have now expanded to cover most of the country. When I addressed you three weeks ago, only 61 districts had significant spread of the virus, as of 16th June 108 districts as shown in this map below:
THE MAP BELOW SHOWS THE DISTRIBUTION OF CORONAVIRUS CASES IN UGANDA FROM 2ND MAY – 18TH JUNE 2021
THE TOP 20 DISTRICTS FROM 2ND MAY 2021 – 18TH JUNE 2021
President Museveni noted that despite the rapid surge in the intensity of the pandemic appears unprecedented, but still manageable using the similar measures we have used since last year at the beginning of the pandemic and in all our previous revolutionary endeavors in the past more than 50 years.
He further noted that his strategic interventions to maintain the fine balance of pandemic control will hinge on preventive health and urgent care for the severely ill and this will be tackled in two ways.
- Urgent interruption (or minimization) of community transmission to cushion the health system, sustain our people’s economic lives and save lives using previously used containment measures. The government will aim at reducing the speed and the intensity of transmission within the next 42 days so that number of new cases is less than the available bed and oxygen capacity in the country. (b) Ramping up oxygen supply to all COVID-19 treatment health facilities and optimize the available care capacity so that it can adequately handle current and new cases over the next 42 days.
- Ramping up oxygen supply to all COVID-19 treatment health facilities and optimize the available care capacity so that it can adequately handle current and new cases over the next 42 days.
Museveni said to achieve the above two strategic objectives and augmenting his observations above, starting at 2200HRS today 18th June 2021, he is am revising and updating ALL the directives he issued on the 6th June 2021. The revision is as follows:
THE REVISED COVID-19 CONTROL MEASURES IN UGANDA AND TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE TRANSPORT
According to the president, it has been observed that Taxis and Boda-Bodas drop passengers at district boundaries to be taken over by their colleagues waiting across the boundary districts which may result in further spread of the virus in communities. Additionally, it has also been observed that despite this directive, human beings walk across district boundaries.
This, therefore, has not achieved its intended purpose. Furthermore, the movement of individuals fuels virus transmission, and without limiting the movement of persons which leads to mixing and re-remixing of individuals in the different categories of infected and non-infected. This needs to be stopped since and is the cornerstone of the current exponential transmission drive.
He, therefore, directed that only registered tourists’ vehicles taking travelers on Uganda tours will be allowed to move. These should move directly to their Uganda safari destinations such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for Uganda gorilla safari trips, Kibale National Park for Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris, Rwenzori Mountains National Park for Uganda mountain climbing and hiking tours, Murchison Falls National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park for Uganda wildlife safaris as well as other designated places.
He further noted that emergency vehicles, police, and army vehicles, and essential workers’ vehicles will be allowed to move.
The president said it is observed that some sections of the public are not adhering to the curfew hours (2100 Hrs. to 0530 Hrs.).
As such, he directed that curfew time throughout the country is pulled back to 1900Hrs to 0530 Hrs. All human beings except security and those authorized to move should be in their homes.
Boda-Bodas will only be allowed to move only up to 1700Hrs.
According to Museveni, testimonies from credible sources indicate that schools had been deliberately silent about infections among students due to fear of closure.
All schools and institutions of learning remain closed for 42 days.
INTERNATIONAL AND CROSS-BORDER TRAVELS
The president noted that Entebbe International Airport will remain open, to Travellers including those on Uganda gorilla tours but we shall ensure the no virus, or new variants enter Uganda. Uganda’s land-locked country. All cargo movements, to and out of Uganda will be allowed without any disruption.
He directed that cargo truck drivers at land-border crossings will be tested before allowed to move and be followed up at the designated Seclusion Areas and holding places for Cargo trucks. “Non-cargo cross-border movement, except for licensed tourist vehicles taking traveler on a tour to Uganda is hereby suspended for the next 42 days,” said Museveni.
NON-AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES AND MARKETS
President Museveni said efforts have been made to bring on board different actors including Kampala Capital City Authority and Ministry of Works and Transport among others. However, the surge of crowds has not sufficiently subsided despite the effort to enforce social distancing and the use of face masks. This might not take away the danger of spreading COVID-19 as envisaged.
He then directed that Food Market Vendors should revert to the Presidential Directive of March 2020 to stay in their places of work. Business Centres should be closed, and the situation reverts to the Presidential Directive of March 2020.
Museveni noted that, whereas the compliance on this has been low, the high-risk factor assessed is the pressure of people seeking permission to go and attend burials from place to place. This poses the highest danger of spreading the virus and breaches of the strategy.
He, therefore, directed that burials should be restricted to the core family as applied in the military with not more than 20 people attend the burial.
BARS, DISCOS, SPORTS BETTING, AND CINEMA HALLS
The president said despite his directive, the bar owners and clients have not fully adhered. He then directed KCCA, URA, and Local Government authorities to close and seal off all the bars. Police should accordingly arrest and charge with hefty fines imposed for reopening.
All other sectors which are not specifically mentioned should consider themselves closed for the next 42 days.
INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
According to Museveni, most offices have complied with the 30% physical presence at the workplace but the directive ought to be reviewed. Current information so far obtained indicates that despite this scale down, infection rates in this area are very high.
He thus directed further reduction to 10% in Non-core Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).
FACTORIES AND CONSTRUCTION SITES
The president stressed that while this directive is being adhered to, it remains tricky because, in some areas, workers have to 22 cross different districts to reach their places of aboard. He then directed that where possible, the workers MUST be housed at places of work for the next 42 days.
He encourages factory owners to work with the Ministry of Health to ensure only uninfected workers enter the camps. An noted that where camping is not possible, the factory owners should work together with the Technical Committee to agree on a safe alternative to enable factory activities to continue safely during the lockdown period.
PLACES OF WORSHIP AND SPORTS SESSIONS
Museveni noted that churches, mosques, and sports sessions are congregating settings and are a source that fuels rapid virus transmission. He then directed that all places of worship and sports events remain suspended for 42 days
THE MONITORING OF THE COMPLIANCE AND ADHERENCE TO THESE DIRECTIVES
The president noted that the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), working together with the Technical Intersectoral Committee under Maj Gen Robert Rusoke is directed to closely monitor the compliance and enforcement of these directives.
Except where specifically stated, all these measures take IMMEDIATE effect and will last 42 days when I will make subsequent revisions.
NON-COMPLIANCE TO UGANDA COVID-19 CONTROL MEASURES CONSEQUENCES
According to the June 6th, 2021 presidential directive, violation of the above measures will lead to arrest with hefty fines mentioned in a Statutory Instrument signed by the Permanent Secretary (PS) Treasury. Those who do not care about the health of Ugandans will pay financially.
UPDATE OF COVD-19 VACCINATION IN UGANDA
Museveni said the above measures will give us temporary relief, however, we know that the ultimate solution to this Covid-19 challenge is to get our people vaccinated. To date, we have vaccinated a total of 869, 915 people, which accounts for 90.2% of the 964,000 doses received. Of these 57,797 (6.6%) have received both 1st and second dose.
On 17th June 2021, Uganda received another 175,200 doses and the country is expecting additional 688,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in early August.
The government is also working with the Chinese embassy to bring in 300,000 doses of vaccines (Sinovac) and discussing modalities of acquisition of more doses through direct purchase.
We are also in discussions with the African Union in terms of the acquisition of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines. The government will continue to explore all ways of fast-tracking the acquisition of enough vaccines to vaccinate a critical mass of our population to ensure the country returns to normal operations, said the president.
Finally, the president appealed to all Ugandans to jointly and fully embrace these urgent and temporary, but extra-ordinary measures in order to protect and preserve our lives, our ways of life, and the way we live and the future. He added that it is only through these measures that Ugandans shall in a long run protect our economy, preserve our democracy and sustain the NRM revolution.
For those planning visit Uganda, on a gorilla Uganda safari you can still enjoy the vast savannah, forest, and mountain jungles with confidence. You can plan your safari trip to Uganda with confidence.
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