Uganda eases COVID-19 measures, extends lockdown as cases rise to 97

President Museveni COVID-19 new measures
According to president Museveni's COVID-19 new measure, wearing a face mask is now mandatory while in public

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Eight new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have been confirmed in Uganda – rising the national tally to 97.

According to the Ministry of Health, six of the cases are from truck drivers – 5 from Kenya who entered via Malaba and another from Tanzania who entered via Mutukula.

The others are two community cases – a resident of Kyotera and a Ugandan truck driver from Mutukula.

Lockdown Extension

President Museveni extended the country’s lockdown by a further 14 days as the government continues monitors the situation. The president said the fear of a bad dream cannot stop someone from catching sleep and thus eased up the lockdown with wholesalers, hardware shops, garages, warehouses, metal/wood workshops, insurance providers, lawyers (30 maximum) and restaurants (serving take-aways) allowed to reopen.

He reiterated his earlier warning to Ugandan women to keep away from cross-border truck drivers, the new source of the pandemic in East African region.

Ugandans have already endured a 45 lockdown and many were anticipating the lifting of the lockdown. However, Museveni who praised Ugandans for flattening the curve to 10° above horizontal and saving the country “images of hundreds of coffins as seen in other countries”, said it is not yet safe to reopen public and private transport.

He advised essential services and reopened businesses to bus their staff to and fro work. He advised others to either continue to camp at their places of work, cycle or walk. Businesses must also ensure social distancing and maintain handwashing and sanitization facilities.

“We have not yet thought it wise to allow public or private transport. People should use buses, either owned or hired by the employers, cycling to the workplace which is the healthiest and also walking to the factory and walking back,” Museveni said.

Similarly, the president said from now on, any person who leaves his/her home must wear a cloth face mask whenever they are in public. He said the cloth mask must be washed and ironed every day.

“We are going to make it mandatory to cover the face with a cloth mask…because the virus rides on the droplets; it cannot fly by its self. The mask may become a seedbed, of the virus,” Museveni said.

He also added that it was still very dangerous to reopen schools especially due to congestions in dormitories and day schools where children walk to and from school.

“We thought about the big groups such as the 15 million grandchildren; I don’t want them to go back to these schools yet. I don’t want sick children. If you have them going to school, we shall have public transport. Let the children stay at home, I’m more comfortable with them at home than going to school in this situation. Even if they miss a term or year, it’s better than to hear that they have a problem because of being too impatient,” Museveni said.

Museveni added that during the next 14-days, all the 35 measures previously announced between March 18 and 30 will remain in place. He said these will be reviewed towards the end of the 14 days.

Read Also: Liquor, schools, churches still a no-no as Rwanda eases COVID-19 lockdown measures

He added that Uganda now has the capacity to make sanitizers, personal protective equipment, and face masks because of companies like Nytil that have joined the effort.

“38 factories are now making enough quantities of sanitizers, now the waragi that has been killing you is going to be useful. The work waragi has been doing I don’t support it. I’m very happy that waragi has found good use at last,” Museveni said.

Museveni said Uganda is going to become a global leader in the exportation of sanitizers with only Brazil being able to match the large quantities of alcohol – a key ingredient in sanitizer solutions.