President Yoweri Museveni has directed that places of worship be opened up following a lockdown that was installed in March, 2021 as a measure to control the vast spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was during his Presidential address to the Nation on the progress of the COVID-19 response in the country.
The President said that the daily average number of confirmed cases over the last one month has declined and stabilized at 124 cases countrywide, from an average of 1,445 cases at the peak of the second wave in June 2021. Similarly, the daily average number of deaths has declined to 6 from 57 deaths at the height of the peak of the second wave.
“As of 22nd September 2021, the country has registered 122,502 confirmed cases and 3,135 deaths. Additionally, the current admissions stand at 340 in both public and private facilities (272 in public, 66 in prisons and only 2 in the private facilities), of whom 144 (38%) are in the severe and critical category,” Museveni said.
Given the statistics and other reasons, the President thus chose to reopen a number of sectors that had remained closed following his last address on July 30th, 2021.
These sectors include Places of Worship with a limited number of worshippers at any one time to not more than 200 provided the place of worship can ensure physical distancing of 2 meters on either side and adequate aeration.
The President emphasized that there must be strict adherence to all SOPs at all times in the places and no congregation for worship should go beyond the curfew hours
The President has also directed that attendance of persons to Weddings, Burials and other social events should not exceed 200 under strict observance of SOPs.
“The casinos, gaming, betting shops and gyms can now operate during the day and close by 6:00pm. The various local governments, Cities and Kampala Capital City Authority, working with the National Gaming and Lottery Board MUST inspect the various betting outlets for suitability and adherence to SoPs before opening,” Museveni directed.
The sectors that remain closed include; Concerts, disco halls, performing artists and beaches, bars, Cinemas and Bibanda (Local Cinema Halls) while weekly markets have been opened save for current hotspot districts of Soroti, Kampala, Kalungu, Kabale, Kumi, Tororo, Gulu, Nwoya and Yumbe.
The President noted that for schools shall be reopened for Post-Secondary institutions of learning from 1st November 2021 while the rest of the learning institutions will open in January 2022.
Museveni highlighted that for the sectors that are closed to be reopened, there needs mass vaccination targeting a total of 4.8 million people who are most vulnerable including; teachers, non-teaching staff, elderly, the 330,000 students aged 18 years and above among others.