CAPE TOWN – Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has announced stricter guidelines including the immediate banning of movement for all people for 14 days in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.
In an address on Monday broadcast on state-owned television, Museveni said the disease which has infected 33 Ugandans was spreading rapidly and called for enhanced prevention measures.
To date, the country had 839 people under isolation at designated quarantine facilities.
“We have therefore decided to error on the side of caution. We must deny the virus the fuel to move,” Museveni said, adding that the first measure was to prohibit all peoples’ movement in both private and public vehicles.
“Some private car owners have turned their cars into taxis, transporting the two people we had permitted, assuming that they would be members of one’s family, when in fact they were passengers being charged … exorbitant fare(s).”
The ban on privately owned passenger vehicles become effective on Monday night.
“I would have given the public time to adjust but … a longer time would give people time to try and go to the villages. In so doing, they may transfer the sickness,” Museveni said.
The president said government workers should also stay at home during the 14 day lockdown, except for the army, police, health workers, the electricity, water and telephone workers.
He ordered the closure of businesses for a 14-day from Wednesday, with only food stores, and those selling agricultural and veterinary products, detergents and pharmaceuticals to be allowed to stay open while adhering to regulations limiting gatherings.
Food markets in the capital Kampala and other towns would also remain in operation with the same social distancing restrictions in place, Museveni added.
“Secondly, the sellers must not go home during the 14 days. They must arrange to stay nearby for that duration. That movement between workplace to home and back is part of the problem,” he said.
“How are the people you left at home and how do you move to work if there is no public transport? It is that mixing that we want to freeze … Be in only one place for 14 days and we see what is happening,” he said.
The Ugandan president said he would engage with banks as well as electricity and water companies about not penalising defaulting customers during the movement ban.
“It is not correct to disconnect water or electricity on account of non-payment during this time of shutdown or to seize properties on account of the non-payment of loans,” he said.