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President Museveni's 16th address to the nation on COVID-19

By Michael Nampala 23 Jun 2020 10:30 AM EAT

President Museveni yesterday addressed the nation for the 16th time on matters to do with the Coronavirus and the lockdown relaxation.

President Museveni addressed the nation for the 16th time on matters COVID-19

President Museveni addressed the nation for the 16th time on matters COVID-19

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"After more than 90 days of battle with the virus, Uganda has only got 774 positive cases of corona-virus after testing a total number of 170,789 persons. There were 1,067 non-Ugandans that tested positive, but we sent them back to their respective countries. Within the figure of 774 of the Ugandans that are positive, 373 are truck drivers."

"Moreover, none of the corona-virus infected persons has died. Instead, out of the 774 that have been found positive, a total of 631 have been treated..."

Most of the measures that have been in place were maintained;

1. Curfew - The aim of the curfew was primarily to act as an enforcement tool to prevent high risk nocturnal activities/establishments like Bars, Nightclubs, etc. The idea is to discourage gatherings in homes, hotels, restaurants, etc. Going home early and staying home the whole night is part of the prevention.

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2. Passengers in private cars - Increasing numbers from the current 3 people to four people in a vehicle. The four include the driver.

3. Boda Bodas -  Boda Bodas, if allowed to transport people at this stage of the epidemic, may lead to further spread with complexity in tracking cases and contacts, given the large number of people they transport and penetrating the society and reaching where the vehicles do not reach. People, walking to their homes is safer than the boda-bodas spreading with passengers in the community. 


4. Places of Worship - The restriction on religious gatherings should be maintained and reevaluated in the last phase of lifting of restrictions.

5. Arcades - The closely knit multistoried densely populated buildings with multiple entrances, no service areas for parking commonly known as arcades are areas where there is close clustering of people with unknown risk profiles. The arcades are interconnected and the ventilation is poor, which increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The ability to enforce physical distancing is minimal as witnessed by what is happening in Kikubo in Kampala. 

Traders try out the car boot sales

A section of traders who operate from Arcades had resorted to selling their items from car boots, but authorities were quick to stop this.  PhotO: Uganda Radio Network.

6. Mobile markets - The Mobile markets have a similar risk profile to arcades due to a high level of clustering. Further, they attract people from far and across various districts with potential to exacerbate disease transmission.
More permanent markets could be easier to control in relation to prevention of transmission and tracking of contacts in the event of an outbreak. 

7. Hawkers, food and other vendors - It’s difficult to track these persons as they are highly mobile. It would be wise not to encourage hawking during this third phase of the pandemic. Additionally, they should be targeted with communication to ensure compliance to prevention measures.

8. Repatriation of bodies for burial in Uganda - COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets and by contact with contaminated surfaces. Current evidence suggests that dead bodies do not pose increased risk of transmission if handled with the appropriate precautions including ─ use of personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, gowns, aprons and masks, preventing fluid leakage and minimizing manipulation of the bodies. Bodies should, therefore, be repatriated if they fulfill the following conditions.

Address to the nation on #Covid19

Posted by Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Monday, June 22, 2020

9. Salons - Most of the activities in salons e.g. Hairdressing, massages, etc involve close contact between the dressers and their clients. Salons also often have many customers from multiple risk profiles and settings. Contact tracing of exposed individuals, if this occurred, could also be complex without detailed contact information of the customers. The restrictions on salons should be maintained given the experiences elsewhere.

10. Travel in and out of Uganda for medical reasons - Travel into Uganda for treatment: -  Opening for individuals to come in for care would thus further increase importation of COVID-19 cases.

The restrictions on entry across borders should be maintained until the issues above are resolved. Any urgent entry should be handled by the MOH on a case by case basis.

11. Opening of the border districts - The rest of the border districts can be opened, but with continued vigilance and reporting of any suspicious events and compliance with prevention measures.

12. Compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures - To support the process of continued opening/lifting of restrictions, there is need to ensure compliance to COVID-19 prevention measures including wearing of face masks in public spaces, hand and environmental hygiene, among others. More effort is needed in areas with poor compliance to prevention measures such as Kikuubo in Kampala and other crowded down-town settings, some supermarkets that do not regulate the number of shoppers or enforce use of masks, crowding around small shops in suburbs, etc. 


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