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Uganda shuts down all entries in the country as it confirms its first Covid-19 case

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President Museveni on Saturday evenning ordered the closure of all Ugandan borders for both exits and entries starting midday on Sunday.

Addressing the country, President Yoweri Museveni said starting 12:00 am on Sunday 22 March 2020, no passenger planes or human movement will be allowed into or out of the country.

Museveni also announced the closure of all border entry points, saying only three cargo crew will be allowed in the country. All those entering the country via air, land or water will not be allowed, Museveni said, and that it is easier to screen cargo than multitudes of incoming passengers.

The president ordered for the prohibit of all incoming passengers whether by air, water or road. He noted that the government had decided to prohibit all passenger planes coming from outside Uganda from landing at any of the airports of Uganda. Only the cargo planes will be allowed to fly into and outside Uganda. “Also to be allowed are planes on account of emergency or UN planes doing relief work,” Mr. Museveni ordered.
The president noted that the crews of the cargo planes and UN planes will be accommodated in places that will be identified in consultation with authorities in those places.

Museveni said in the absence of an East African Community risk plan, no person, Ugandan national or otherwise will be allowed into Uganda after March 22 at 12:00hrs. Museveni said anyone violating the travel ban risks arrest.
“Domestic flights will continue for now but we may change later because those planes are not safer. Since we don’t have cases now, the can continue flying” the President added.

 “No buses, taxis, no minibuses, no saloon cars, no boda bodas will be allowed in the country. Also pedestrians walking on foot or riding on bicycles will not be allowed to enter Uganda by water, by road or by footpath nor will they be allowed to exit by those means” the President said.

Mr Museveni, to put these new measures into force, called upon the Local Council one leaders in the border areas to work with security personnel to enforce the new orders.
Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo are Ugandan neighbors that are already battling the Covid-19 cases.

Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng said closing all the entry points is the right move that will enable authorities to manage and revert all efforts to managing the pandemic from within. According to Aceng, more than 1,000 people are currently under quarantine.

Museveni also warned those with colds and flu from mixing with the public, urging them to keep indoors. The president also ruled out releasing prisoners in a bid to mitigate the risk of infection. Museveni said with open borders it becomes difficult to manage the suspected cases entering into country. 

Key symptoms of coronavirus include dry cough, shortness of breath and fever.

Globally, 290,819 cases of COVID-19 and 11,980 deaths have been confirmed. More than 611 have been recorded on the African continent in 34 countries. Egypt followed by South Africa has the highest number of cases standing at 285 and 240 respectively. 

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