President Yoweri Museveni has announced that public and private means of transport will be reopened in select border districts where Covid infections haven’t been registered as yet.
The President said this on Monday during a televised address on measures against Covid and steps to further ease lockdown.
In a previous address, the President had banned all means of transport in 40 districts that lie across the borders, saying this would prevent further spread of the infection since many foreign nationals are still sneaking into the country through porous border points.
He said at the time that if private and public cars were allowed to operate in these border areas, it would facilitate quick transmission to other parts of Uganda.
However, on Monday he said that henceforth, public vehicles and private transport in select districts will be allowed provided they follow the Covid safeguards that apply to other parts of the country – carrying half capacity (for public means) and 4 people (for private cars).
The number of people allowed to move in private cars has also been reviewed from 3 to 4.
During his address, the President said reopening of Education institutions is still too risky. Boda bodas will continue to transport only goods.
To date, Uganda has conducted over 170,000 tests for Covid and out of those, 774 samples tested positive. A total of 631 people have recovered from the disease and nobody has died so far.
On the issue of arcades, he said the Covid Taskforce should direct KCCA, MoH and Ministry of Trade to engage arcade owners to identify a few arcades where a pilot can be made and the observance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) monitored.
In his address, Museveni acknowledged that the lockdown is not a sustainable option since it has hurt the economy. He however added that the threat is still great.
“The guiding principle is not wealth, business, jobs or convenience. The main issue here is life or death. We must protect health and then we do other things,” he said.
He also cited the upward trend in cases of community transmission. Currently, there have been 62 Covid cases in Kyotera district, 59 from Amuru and 37 from Kampala. He attributed this to people that enter the country through porous borders.
“We are entering a very dangerous phase. The trend has changed from returnees, truck drivers and those who enter through porous borders. We are beginning to get positive cases whose contacts are difficult to trace. If a person who was traveling in a bus tested positive, how do you identify their contacts?”
Museveni says he has received many requests from groups who demand a full reopening of the country due to the continuous economic strain, but he says scientists have advised otherwise.
On whether or not to review curfew (lift it or adjust the duration), he quoted scientists as having advised that curfew prevents high risk nocturnal activities – social activities that further spread the disease. He also said the curfew deters criminal activities.