Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Yoweri Museveni has said Uganda will soon ease the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions because the country can’t live under strict measures forever.
Mr Museveni made the remarks on Saturday 9, May 2020 at State House Entebbe where he hosted inter-religious leaders for anti-coronavirus prayers.
On 10th May, 2020, Uganda’s coronavirus cases increased by 5 new cases confirmed from 1,498 samples of truck drivers. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases to 121 in Uganda.
The new cases are: 2 Ugandan and 3 Kenyan truck drivers who arrived via Elegu and Malaba Points of Entry.
Ministry of Health said 31 of the foreign drivers have returned to their respective countries and the total recoveries from COVID-19 in the country stand 55.
President Museveni said the lockdown which was extended this week by another two weeks was to help the country prepare better and mitigate the spread of the virus.
The president once again reiterated that there will be no locking out cross border cargo trucks as a section of Ugandans were demanding – because Uganda needs goods such as salt to be imported into the country.
Instead, Mr Museveni said, the presidents of DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya have agreed to have the drivers be tested from where they are coming from, Kenya. He said the drivers will be tested by a joint team of the four countries in Naivasha, Kenya.
Mr Museveni also said coronavirus has helped Uganda to pay more attention to cargo truck drivers’ health after many of them were found to have other underlying diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. He said such drivers are bound to cause accidents on the road and that Uganda will “certainly” only allow healthy drivers into the country.
“Drivers are like pilots. Anyone to be a truck driver must be healthy. You can’t have diabetes and high blood pressure and be a truck driver.” he said.
On easing up the lockdown restrictions, Museveni said this will come with strict enforcement of wearing of the face mask. However, he said, Ugandans are yet to appreciate the importance of the face mask in stopping the spread of the virus.
He said he has seen people wearing masks around necks, over the chins and on the head as if it were a decoration. As they keep on adjusting the mask, he said they risk taking the virus closer to their face.
“The lockdown was in order to prepare better because we were not prepared better in the beginning. We’re now more prepared because you remember in my speech, I said you either vaccinate, or avoid, or treat…Of the three what is possible now is to avoid and treat and you have seen us treating. We have treated these people and they have been cured and gone. Nobody has died,” said President Museveni.
“We have been able to treat because the numbers were few. That is the whole strategy. The mistake in Europe and other places was that they did not avoid early. They were playing around with something very dangerous and it spread so much that the numbers were so many, it was not treatable. That is why they said let that one die because we have nowhere to put them. That is what we want to avoid here,” he added.
On corrupt officials in his government, Museveni said; “I’m really tired of thieves and greedy people. I will be coming to you [clergy] and say show me your Godly people…The one’s you can stand surety. We can really move if we have clean people.”
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Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng also discouraged the use of air conditioning in vehicles or public buildings, saying the virus is able to stay in the air for at least 45 minutes and air conditioning will just keep circulating it around.
“Air conditioning is not good, when you have air conditioning you close all the doors and windows and the air stays within. Whatever infection you have you keep circulating. the air keeps circulating around,” said Aceng.