Key take-aways from tonight’s Covid-19 Presidential address:
- Curfew time will stay from 7pm to 6.30am. The measure is both a security and health intervention.
- Private vehicles can now carry four, up from three passengers, including the driver. They should observe SOPs like wearing masks.
- Boda bodas. Despite innovations like barriers between rider and passenger, they remain a high risk carrier. Bodas will stay carrying cargo, not passengers.
- Places of worship will stay closed. They’d pose a difficulty in contact tracing and are a high risk contamination area.
- Arcades will stay closed. However, relevant agencies will work with arcade owners to pilot prevention procedures to inform future relaxation.
- Mobile markets, just like the arcades, will stay closed. They are high risk areas, present difficulty in contact tracing, etc.
- Hawkers(ing), vendors should be discouraged. They get in contact with many people, can’t be traced etc. They should be targeted with information.
- Repatriation of bodies for burial in Uganda. They can be repatriated but with strict SOPs from health and foreign affairs ministries. E.g. Body must be wrapped in a waterproof body bag, placed in a zinc lined coffin and an outer metal or wooden box.
- Salons will stay closed. Activities here involve close contact between/among people. Contact tracing would be difficult too.
- Travel in and out of Uganda for medical reasons should be barred, in principle. However, Ministry of Health and other agencies can handle case by case.
- Opening border districts. More mapping has been to determine which border districts should be opened and which stay locked.
Those that will stay locked are:
a. Rakai, Kyotera, Amuru, Buikwe, Gulu, Arua, Adjumani, Moyo, and Nebbi (clusters of infections under investigation)
b. Zombo, Adjumani and Arua (districts with refugees, need more testing)
c. Busia and Bulisa (districts with major border/water points). The rest of the border districts can be opened but with continued vigilance. They are: Amudat, Bududa, Bukwo, Bundibugyo, Buvuma, Hoima, Isingiro, Kaabong, Kabale, Kalangala, Kanungu, Kasese, Kikuube, Kisoro, Kitgum, Koboko, Kween, Lamwo, Maracha, Mayuge, Moroto, Namayingo, Namisindwa, Ntoroko, Ntungamo, Pakwach, Rubanda, Rubirizi, Rukiga, Rukungiri, Sironko, and Yumbe.
- Education institutions will stay closed. Its still too risky to open schools. In the meantime, government will launch a big long-distance education programme through radios. Each homestead will get a radio set.
- The Independent Electoral Commission, after consulting scientists, has proposed a “scientific” electoral process. Ugandans should support this exercise.
- Ministries of Education and Gender should register people affected by the lockdown, such as the salon operators, private universities, private secondary schools, private primary schools, etc., so that they can be helped, not with free money, but cheap capital when their activities resume or even help them to do other activities