Uganda moves to phased reopening amid rising Covid-19 cases

Tuesday June 2 2020

Traffic flows along Bakuli street in Kampala,

Traffic flows along Bakuli street in Kampala, Uganda on August 14, 2019. Buses and commuter taxis will resume operations on June 4, 2020 but will operate at half the capacity. PHOTO | REUTERS 

CHARLES M. MPAGI
By CHARLES M. MPAGI
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Uganda will go ahead with its planned re-opening of the country despite recording more than 150 Covid-19 cases in three days, according to President Yoweri Museveni.

In an address to the nation on Monday evening, President Museveni said that public transport will resume but with necessary health and safety measures in place.

“We shouldn’t bite too much at a time. Opening for private cars has already unleashed big numbers of people moving. We have decided to postpone the opening of schools for another month,” Museveni said in his 15th address to the nation on Covid-19.

Buses and commuter taxis will resume on June 4 but will operate at half the capacity with commuters and operators “covering their mouth and nose all the time.”

Travel in districts bordering neighbouring countries is also not allowed for the next three weeks.

“For the next 21 days, no private or public transport is allowed in the border districts. There are forty districts in northern, northeastern, Bugisu, Bunyoro, Ankole and the Kigezi subregions,” added the president.

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Malls and stand-alone stores have also allowed been to reopen as long as clients observe physical distancing.

Schools, gyms, salons, bars and places of worship will remain closed for 21 more days.

Meanwhile, Uganda on Tuesday recorded 32 new Covid-19 cases raising the national tally to 489.

“Nineteen of the new confirmed cases are from 1,693 samples from points of entry while 13 are from 423 samples of contacts and alerts,” the Health Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Fourteen new cases were recorded in Elegu, near South Sudan, two each in Busia and Malaba near the Kenyan border, while one was recorded in Mutukula near the border with Tanzania.

Thirteen of the new cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases. All patients are Ugandans.

“Currently, there are 391 admitted Covid-19 confirmed cases in 15 referral hospitals in the country. All are in stable condition,” the statement added.

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