The president of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has laid down a plan through which the country is to ease the lockdown. In a long televised address, like in his past speeches, Museveni put forward different measures that has reduced the rate of infections in the Ugandan community.
After dealing with the cross border infections that are being imported in the country by truck drivers, the country is on the move to ease the lockdown that started on March 18th 2020.
This was Museveni’s 14th televised address to the people of Uganda and it was long waited by the Ugandans who thought the president was to ease the lockdown immediately.
However, Museveni brought foward his “cunning ways” in which he eased the lockdown but tied the “ease to the masks” that the government is to distribute to every Ugandan above 6 years of age. Museveni said that “Opening up is tied to the masks. And the masks will be ready in two weeks, starting May 19th”.
Museveni added on that “we believe that with the proper mask, you do not infect others and you also do not get infected on top of all the other measures”.
Once the issue of universal access to standard face masks is addressed, here are the different changes to the directives that the president gave earlier:
1. Shops selling general merchandize will open provided they are not in the shopping malls, shopping arcades and food markets. Shops in malls/arcades can’t open now because it is impossible to observe social distancing in shopping malls or arcades.
2. The heroic market women that have slept in the work places for all these days, will be allowed to go home and come back to work daily if they want to.
3. Public transport will resume but with strict regulations. Mini-buses, buses, taxis, tuku-tukus can operate provided they carry only a half of their normal capacity. Public transport won’t operate in border districts for another 21 days.
4. Boda bodas won’t carry passengers yet. They should continue to carry cargo as they have been doing during the time of the lock-down.
5. Bars, night-clubs, gyms, saunas, swimming pools and hair-salons, will stay closed for another 21 days since they cannot easily observe the rules of social distancing.
6. The International borders of Uganda and the airport will remain closed so that we do not import additional cases from outside.
7. Education institutions will open but only for finalists/candidate classes. There will be no first-term examinations. Social distancing is a must. Other learners will wait for now.
8. Curfew from 1900hours (Saa moja ya usiku) until 0630 hours (Saa kuminambiri na nusu za usiku), remains in place for another 21 days.
9. Food restaurants can open as long as the clients observe social-distancing and there is no air-conditioning which spreads the virus.
10. People with private cars will be allowed to drive as long as the car does not carry more than 3 people, including the driver.
11. All the other restrictions will remain in place for another 21 days.
NOTE: (a) Government is to provide free masks to all Ugandans aged six and above in two weeks’ time. They will be distributed through the LC system.
(b) The national taskforce headed by the Rt Hon Prime Minister will meet and offer detailed SOPs in relation to these directives.