Uganda closes schools, bans inter-district travel amid second wave COVID-19 spike

Uganda closes schools, bans inter-district travel amid second wave COVID-19 spike
President Yoweri Museveni on June 6, 2021 closed all schools for 42 days, ordered all teachers vaccinated before re-opening and suspended worship in Churches and Mosques for the same period. Travel from one district to another will also be prohibited

Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday 6, June 2021 announced the closure of schools for at least 42 days due to the increasing cases of coronavirus.

According to results released by the Ministry of Health, nine new coronavirus deaths and 1,259 new cases were recorded out of 7,289 samples tested on June 4. The cumulative confirmed cases in the country now stand at 52,935 and 383 deaths.

In his televised address, Mr. Museveni said the current coronavirus situation warrants 40 new measures which include the closure of all schools for 42 days, ban of communal prayers, and public gatherings/workshops for 42 days.

Mr. Museveni said for now the only meetings permitted are those of cabinet, parliament, and judiciary. Attendees of weddings and burials have been trimmed from 200 to 20 people. Likewise, house parties, weekly, and cattle markets have also been banned for the next 42 days.

Travel from one district to another will be prohibited.

Whereas saloons, lodges, supermarkets have been permitted to continue operating, President Museveni said these will have to close at 7 pm and if they don’t adhere to the guidelines within a week, they will be ordered to close. Unlike previously, Mr. Museveni said this time, managers of the spaces, venues and offices that flout the coronavirus Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be personally held liable. 

Inter-district travel beyond Wakiso, Mukono, and Kampala has also been banned for 14 days, with private vehicles limited to just 3 people including the driver. Public transport has been temporarily allowed to continue operating.

Teachers who have not vaccinated will not be allowed back in schools, Mr. Museveni said. The president said to avoid overcrowding prisons, flouters of the coronavirus Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be fined instead of being arrested.

Read Also: Kyambogo University student and staff succumb to COVID-19

Gen. Katumba made mistakes

On the recent failed assassination attempt on former chief of defense forces (CDF) Gen Katumba Wamala, Mr. Museveni said Gen. Katumba made personal mistakes which included rejecting a lead car which would have made it harder for the assailants to attack him the way they did.

Gen. Katumba’s daughter Brenda Wamala Nantongo and driver Hassan Kayondo were killed in the attack which was a carbon copy of previous attacks that claimed the lives of former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, former Buyende district police commander Muhammad Kirumira, former state prosecutor Joan Kagezi, former Arua MP Ibrahim Abiriga among others. 

However, President Museveni said despite what the media was reporting that the country is under tension, security is on top of the situation and very soon Gen. Katumba’s attackers will be arrested. 

Mr. Museveni also said traffic officers are now going to be armed or paired with someone armed because a traffic officer saw Gen. Katumba’s attackers but could not do anything since he was not armed. 

Key takeaways from President Museveni address

  1. All schools closed for 42 days and compulsory vaccination for all teachers.
  2. All worship closed for 42 days.
  3. All public and cultural gatherings, including conferences, suspended for 42 days.
  4. Travel to banned countries remain restricted.
  5. Agricultural activities to continue as usual
  6. Shopping malls, factories and supermarkets can continue operating, subject t SOP compliance
  7. Taxi parks, markets, and big farms can operate with strict SOPs.
  8. Only 20 people can attend a marriage ceremony or other authorised social.
  9. House parties banned.
  10. Only 20 people to attend burial.
  11. Weekly markets banned for 42 days.
  12. Public transport; buses and taxis between districts banned.
  13. All inter-district travel banned for 42 days.
  14. Cargo trucks, essential and emergency transport to continue operating.
  15. Inter-district travel allowed.
  16. Cargo trucks to carry only 2 persons.
  17. Bars, cinemas and discotheques remain closed.
  18. Sporting activities can continue, but without spectators.
  19. Public places to observe strict SOPs.
  20. Public and work places to designate SOPs compliance superintendent.
  21. Private vehicles to carry no more than 3 people.
  22. Inter-district travel banned for private vehicles.
  23. Ambulance, security and essential services vehicles to move normally.
  24. Shopping malls and hardware shops to operate until 7pm, but strictly observe SOPs.
  25. Salons allowed to operate as long as they comply with SOPs.
  26. Lodges allowed to operate, but without bar section.
  27. Factories are allowed to operate with strict adherence to SOPs.
  28. Construction sites allowed to operate.
  29. Cargo trucks allowed to cross to neighbouring countries.
  30. Boda Bodas are allowed to operate, but only up to 6pm
  31. Curfew remains in place from 9pm to 5:30am.
  32. Non-compliance with new conditions attracts fines specified in a statutory instrument to be issued by Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary/Secretary to Treasury.
  33. All directives, except on public transport, take effect from today.