Ministry of Health puzzled by complacency with partial ease of lockdown

Dr Diana Atwine
Dr Diana Atwiine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Health is puzzled by the complacency after the lockdown was eased.

The Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine says the partial ease of the lockdown on Tuesday 26th when private cars were allowed back on the road after more than two months is an indication that some people are not paying attention to prevention methods.

She says that there is likely to be an increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 spiral following the partial easing of the lockdown.

She says their surveillance teams are reporting overcrowding in many places especially in downtown Kampala and the markets which make it hard for physical distancing to be respected. Dr Atwine added that many people are still failing to wear facial masks.

She says after all surveillance teams from various parts of the country hand in their reports this weekend, the Ministry will brainstorm on how to move forward especially on which modalities places like markets and business centres can adopt to respect issues like social distancing.

The plan she said is to invite in proposals and guidance from sister agencies like Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) and other expert institutions like Makerere University.

Experts at Makerere University have however already criticized the Ministry for lifting strategies that are being used elsewhere into Uganda yet countries have different social and economic setups.

Dr Joseph Matovu, a behavioral scientist and Senior Research Associate at the School of Public Health, calls for homegrown interventions that are zeroed on putting into consideration of local workplaces.

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Even as private cars were allowed to move this week, places like arcades remain closed until June 4th according to the President’s directives. Those that are working in downtown Kampala are business people who are in shops that are not enclosed. Once all buildings are open, crowding will increase.

However, in an earlier interview with this publication, Dr Daniel Okello KCCA’s Ag. Director for Public Health and Environment said they were working on new policies for arcades among which is requiring every arcade owner to hire surveillance personnel for each of the arcades to monitor people entering and exiting.