Uganda Gets 3 New Cases of COVID-19, Museveni Says Movement During Lockdown is Counterproductive

President Yoweri Museveni

Uganda’s Ministry of Health has Friday reported 3 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 bringing the country’s total cases so far to 48.

The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said that a total of 419 samples were tested on Friday and out of these, 3 were positive. All the three positive cases are Ugandans who arrived in the country from abroad last month.

One of them flew from the U.S. on March 18 while the other two came in from Dubai on March 20 and March 22. All of the 3 are currently under quarantine, according to Dr Aceng.

Uganda has no deaths from COVID-19 so far.

During his latest address to the nation on Friday, President Yoweri Museveni said the drastic measures undertaken by government are paying off. He expressed optimism that the Coronavirus problem will be dealt with in Uganda.

“It (COVID-19) is not a big issue but people don’t listen. They take things for granted,” he said.

According to Museveni, the fact that only 48 cases have tested positive out of the 1,785 samples is a positive thing.

Also, going by the dynamics (majority of the positive cases are imported), he said he is hopeful that Uganda will prevail over the virus.

“That’s why I’m glad that when we took drastic steps of decongesting, you (Ugandans) have responded well and supported our efforts”.

He however acknowledged some of the challenges such as the lack of coordination in the implementation of the guidelines, but was quick to add that “all the inconveniences are nothing compared to the bigger problem – if this virus spreads into the population”.

The President also noted that had the closure of the airport been done earlier (about two days prior), the prevention of cases from getting into the community would have been far greater.

He expressed concern over members of the public who are still moving (walking) in droves from one point to another, saying this could undermine the strategy of government to lockdown the country and trace contacts of those already infected.

This week, the President declared a 14-day lockdown and a daily curfew (7pm to 6:30am) to slow the spread.

“We are telling the whole country to stop like we do in the military. In warfare, walking can distract you from hearing what your enemy might be up to. So you must stop to be able to listen properly,” Museveni said.

“This is what we are doing now (during lockdown). But now you are still walking. Those of you walking everyday coming to town, what are you going to do that can’t wait? You are interfering with our ability to detect our enemy (COVID-19). Some people came into the country and escaped from the airport. We wanted to use these 14 days to understand how far they went”.

He tasked the security forces to inquire from those walking so as to understand their motives.

The Ministry of Health says it is faced with a challenge of tracing at least 660 people who came in contact with some 13 confirmed cases.

Museveni said that Uganda and Africa have a comparative advantage in the fight against coronavirus, citing the lifestyles in advanced countries as the possible aggravating factor in its spread in Europe and other Western countries.

“In Europe, the problem is with the lifestyle. These trains they use that have internal air conditioning. I suspect that could have played a part. We can stop it here. I know people say that because it has spread fast in Europe, it will also spread here. Those people there (Europe) are too advanced but that has its own issues,” Museveni said.

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