Ugandan President Museveni Friday said the country's economy will fully reopen in a staggered manner from January 2022 amidst escalated fresh Covid-19 cases and fatalities that have stoked global concern, including in Uganda.
"Performing arts, cinemas, sports events, bars and events will be open 2 weeks after the reopening of schools on January 10, 2021, with SOPs as directed by the Ministry of Health," he emphasised.
Speaking at a time the country has accelerated to 140,737 coronavirus cases since the March 2020 outbreak- with about 10,559 new cases and 20 fatalities posted from December 21-31, Mr Museveni said "the government had found new solutions to Covid-19 among which is vaccinating the 22 million Ugandans above 18 years."
A 7pm-5am curfew that started mid-2021 will only "be lifted for everybody after the performing arts resume, two weeks after school resumption but with boda-bodas barred from operating beyond 7pm."
"The transport sector which has been operating at half capacity will be allowed to operate at full capacity as long as both the travellers and the operators are fully vaccinated, except those below 18 years of age," he said from his ancestral home in Rwakitura, Western Uganda, during his New Year message that focussed on Uganda's Covid-19 situation.
In Uganda, opposition against a prolonged economy lock-down lasting over one year started emerging in the last quarter of 2021 with arguments that the economy that only grew by 3.8 percent in 2021 was on the brink.
But Mr Museveni has now made it clear that "some of these measures may be reversed if a high Covid-19 dependency on ICU bed occupancy exceeds 50 percent and once the daily rate of the hospitalisation of critically ill patients is sustained at 30 per day for 5 days in 2 or more Covid-19 units."
The president on the eve of the New Year 2022 also urged at least 22 million Ugandans aged over 18 to embrace vaccination.
"You as a person should be answerable for your life and health. Scientists have now recommended a booster doses for our 3.3 million Ugandans at 50 years and above. Come out and be vaccinated," he encouraged.
Concluding a year dominated by chilling acts of domestic terror, landslides, floating islands, locusts and the obvious, Covid-19, the veteran politician preached hope.
"We should minimise borrowing by the government. We pay Ushs15.16 trillion for debts each year and Shs4.9 trillion of this is interest. We know where the problem of high-interest rates is coming from. It will be addressed," Mr Museveni echoed.