Uganda adopts new measures to contain pandemic rage

UMMATIMES - Ugandan President Yowreri Museveni on Friday implemented new measures to tackle Covid-19 to help curb the second wave of the pandemic gripping the country. Measures taken include a ban on all movement of vehicles except essential workers.

The east African country, like most other African countries, was relatively unaffected by the first wave. However, Uganda suddenly started experiencing a sharp spike in Covid-19 infections in May after authorities confirmed that they had detected the presence of the first coronavirus variant discovered in India.

"The country has experienced a more aggressive and sustained growth of the Covid-19 pandemic," Museveni said in a televised address.

He said the daily number of people testing positive had jumped to more than 1,700 less than 100 just three weeks ago. "We are experiencing very high rates of hospitalization and death for Covid-19 patients among all age categories," he said.

In new measures to curb the pandemic, it banned the movement of public and private vehicles except those transporting patients and those used by essential workers such as healthcare workers. The curfew which started at 21.00 was moved up to 19.00.

Places such as busy shopping malls, churches and sports arenas were closed. The new restrictions, Museveni said, would last for 42 days.

To date, Uganda has registered a total of 68,778 Covid-19 cases and 542 deaths. Over the past two weeks, local media have extensively reported on most health facilities, both public and private, being full and refusing patients.

Several other facilities have a taxable oxygen supply. The new restrictions could undermine the fragile economic recovery from the blow wrought by last year's lockdown.

The restrictions contributed to a 1.1 percent shrinkage of the economy in 2020. However, the finance ministry had projected, before the new measures were issued on Friday, that growth would pick up to 4.3 percent in the fiscal year starting in July.