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Museveni relaxes COVID-19 restrictions as infection rates decline

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July 31, 2021 (KAMPALA) - President Yoweri Museveni on Friday announced the lifting of the lockdown in which public transport has been allowed to operate and arcades allowed to reopen but under strict adherence to Standard Operating Procedures.

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Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni (Photo: Carl Court/AP)

On June 18, the president announced an immediate 42-day lockdown imposed on the country in a move aimed at mitigating the surging cases of Covid-19 as the country entered into a second wave of the pandemic.

In a televised address on Friday, however, Museveni said the lockdown was of great help leading to a reduction in daily confirmed cases from 1735 to an average of 71 per day now whereas the positivity rate has also gone down from 22% to only 8%.

“Therefore, when this crisis started I had to intervene to protect health workers from being overwhelmed and to save the population from massive deaths. There has since been a reduction in daily deaths and admission of critical patients,” he said.

The president said there were three options including fully reopening, partial reopening or continuing with the total lockdown but noted government had to strike a balance between controlling the spread of the virus on one hand and the mitigating effect of the lockdown on the economy and the general wellbeing of Ugandans on the other hand.

Museveni said the task force decided that the country goes with the partial lockdown but under strict Standard Operating Procedures to be followed by the population.

“Partial opening up will see an increased number of infections in the first week since everyone will be coming out after the lockdown but this would later reduce. It is therefore good to ensure observance of SOPs in the partial lockdown. Based on scientists’ advice, I now revise my directives,” Museveni said.

“Therefore, curfew is maintained at 7 pm and all persons except security and those cleared to move at night should be in their homes. Public transport will reopen at 50% capacity beginning Monday.”

According to the president, public transport associations should regulate themselves and failure to comply with the decision to reopen will be reversed whereas boda bodas are allowed to carry one passenger but stop at 6 pm.

The president noted that private vehicles are now allowed to move across district borders but carrying a maximum of three persons including the driver whereas shopping malls and arcades are reopened.

“Bars remain closed and security should arrest and charge owners who breach this directive. Performing artists and their concerts are still closed but they can perform virtually,” Museveni said.

The president said outdoor sports events are now opened but under strict observance of Standard Operating Procedures.

The Uganda leader, however, said churches, mosques and other places of worship are still closed for another 60 days but urged them to use virtual prayers.

On schools, the president said these are too still closed until learners are vaccinated.

“If you don’t observe that and you think you are clever you may get problems and also cause us problems. If these measures are taken, we may avoid the third wave. Maybe we will have vaccinated and got the cure that we are testing,” Museveni said.

According to the Ministry of Health, results for tests done on July, 28, Uganda registered 393 new Covid cases to take the number to 93675 cumulative cases whereas 23 new deaths put the cumulative number at 2661.

A total of 81992 Covid patients have fully recovered since March 2020 when Uganda registered its first Covid case.

(ST)

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