Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday announced an extension to the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew and other restrictions as the country continues to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Museveni, who appeared during a live televised address from State House, Nakasero, revealed that the aim of the curfew was primarily to act as an enforcement tool to prevent high risk nocturnal activities/establishments like Bars, Nightclubs, etc., from conducting business and to deter crime under the cover of darkness.
The Head of State, however, said that after several weeks of tracking cases and contacts, in country travel restrictions have been lifted, with exception to districts with potential clusters of infections like Rakai, Kyotera, Amuru, Buikwe, Gulu, Arua, Adjumani, Moyo, and Nebbi.
Others are Zombo, Adjumani and Arua districts with refugees—which is mainly to allow time to test the refugees and a risk profiling before the final decision is made.
“The only safe activities that can be re-opened now are the public passenger transport and private cars in some of the 33 border districts that do not have the corona virus,” Museveni said.
These districts include Amudat, Bududa, Bukwo, Bundibugyo, Buvuma, Hoima, Isingiro, Kaabong, Kabale, Kalangala, Kanungu, Kasese, Kikuube, Kisoro, Kitgum and Koboko.
Others are Kween, Lamwo, Maracha, Mayuge, Moroto, Moyo, Namayingo, Namisindwa, Ntoroko, Ntungamo, Pakwach, Rubanda, Rubirizi, Rukiga, Rukungiri, Sironko and Yumbe.
The President also announced a relaxation on the number of passengers in private cars from 3 to 4 including the driver, provided they are all putting on masks.
– Reopening Schools –
The Head of State called for patience as far as re-opening of Educational Institutions are concerned.
“It is just too risky,” he said.
He, however said that government was going to launch a ‘big’ long-distance education programme, through radios.
“We are going to give free radio-sets to all the homesteads. Radios will soon be distributed,” the President said, adding that printed educational materials will also be provided.
– Political Road Map –
With the politics, the Head of State noted that the Independent Electoral Commission, in consultation with scientists, had looked at a number of options, as far as the General and Local Government Elections that are due for early next year, are concerned.
He said that among the areas of contention were- if there was no vaccine or clear treatment for COVID-19 by the time of the elections, can the Conventional Elections of mass rallies, processions, etc., be safely held or the elections be postponed?
The other query raised was in relation to a hi-breed option, if it can be constitutionally used to hold the elections on time and safely.
Museveni revealed that the Electoral Commission opted for the later because the danger is in the holding of public gatherings.
“If you eliminate those and messages of the contestants are passed on through the radios, TVs, socio-media, etc., the gathering for the elections themselves, can be safely managed with hand-washing, social-distancing (okweeha emyaanya ─ leaving gaps of the necessary metres between voters in line ─ a type of tonsemberera, otampika),” he said.
“This would remove the uncertainty that would be created by the postponement of the elections but also ensure that elections are held safely,” he added.
Also extended till further notice is the ban on places of worship, salons, Arcades, international travel passengers on boda bodas.
As of Monday, Uganda had registered 774 infections out of 170,000 samples tested in 95 days. Additionally, 1,067 non Ugandans who tested positive for the virus were denied entry and returned to their respective countries of origin. Of the Ugandans who tested positive, 373 are truck drivers.
None of the coronavirus infected persons has died. We are thankful to God and also congratulate our health workers,” Mr Museveni added.
The president also threatened with further measures if Ugandans continue to snub the advice of government and health workers.