The Uganda President, Kaguta Museveni, on Wednesday March 18, 2020 evening addressed the nation on the state of Coronavirus (Covid19) in the country stating out clear guidelines on how citizens can avoid and mitigate infection of the new deadly disease that has held the world at ransom and killed 3% of of the infected population.
Up to today, the 18th of March, 2020, Uganda, by the mercy of God, has been spared by not having even one case confirmed of the corona-virus. There has been many false alarms that our laboratories have proved false. However, there are countries in the world that have had many cases. We describe these countries as category one countries in terms of the epidemic.
The president pointed out on how the pandemic has mostly affected the Tourism and Travel industry much more than other economic sectors in the nation but encouraged everyone to be preventive than wait for a cure to come when you’re dying.
Uganda has previously successfully overcome pandemics that threatened its citizens like the Ebola virus that had a 67% kill rate. The president pointed out that if Corona Virus has a kill rate of 3%, then Uganda has a upper hand of overcoming its strength based on our historical success rate of mitigating outbreaks.
President Museveni mentioned that the Cabinet, under my Chairmanship, on Monday, the 16th of March, 2020, sat and decided as follows (in summery):
With a total 15 million young Ugandans in schools, it is wise that we temporarily remove these concentration points by closing all the Primary and Secondary schools as well as all the Universities and Tertiary Institutions for one month, starting with Friday, the 20th of March, 2020, starting at mid-day. All these institutions, without exception, should close so that we deny this virus those concentrations.
Prayers in Churches, in Mosques, open air prayers and services on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In the interests of our people’s health, these should be suspended for a month with immediate effect.
Public rallies, conferences, elections, etc. All these are hereby forbidden for 32 days with immediate effect.
We, with immediate effect, ban all out-bound movement by Ugandans to or through these countries, again, for 32 days. These countries are: Italy, France, South Korea, China, USA, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway Austria, Malaysia, Pakistan and San Marino. Foreigners going to those countries are free to do so provided they do not intend to come back within the prohibited time. We extend our sympathies to those countries and commend them for fighting on the behalf of the human
We cannot stop Ugandans coming back from abroad, even from the category one countries that I read above. However, such Ugandans will be put in a mandatory quarantine in a designated place but they will pay the cost for their institutional quarantine ─ food, etc. If they want to avoid that inconvenience or cost, they can sit out the storm in the country of their temporary abode.
Factories, hotels, large plantations, markets, taxi-parks, etc. These should continue functioning but with SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) put out by the Ministry of Health. These will include: compulsory hand-washing by all persons who enter or exit those work places, anybody with symptoms of sickness should not be allowed access for any reason, by the employers installing temperature monitors. The Ministry will publish the detailed SOPs as part of the Statutory Instrument to be signed by the Minister of Health with immediate effect.
It is, therefore, decided that the wedding of this type should be postponed for 32 days from today.
We cannot ban or post pone burials for 32 days. It would not be rational. We, therefore, recommend that the burial is done by the relatives who are nearby. If the deceased is, however, suspected of dying from the corona-virus, the State will take over and bury the person in the scientific way without the involvement of the family as we did for the Ebola victims. We should not replicate the lack of enlightenment that was exhibited in West Africa where the ritual of washing dead bodies was maintained even when people were dying from Ebola.
The boda-bodas, the taxis, the buses, the minibuses and the trains. Everybody can see, the clear danger here, is of many people sitting next to one another in the confined space of the vehicle from Lira to Kampala etc. Therefore, the advice here is: “Do not travel unless it is absolutely necessary, if you are using public transport”. Additionally, the companies that operate these means of transport should be given mandatory SOPs by the Ministry of Health: handwashing, not allowing sick people on board, temperature monitors etc. With these pre-cautions, public transport will continue. However, in the event of an outbreak in a given locality, public transport in that area will be forbidden and the area will be isolated.
The discos, the dances, bars, sports, music shows, cinemas and concerts. These are very dangerous gathering points with the virus around. Drunkards sit close to one another. They speak with saliva coming out of their mouth. They are a danger to themselves. All these are suspended for a month.
The virus, according to the facts known so far, spreads by okwetsyamura (sneezing) and kukorora (coughing) whereby, through your micro-mucous (ebimira) or your spittle (otuchwante), you pollute the air around you and the virus can now enter the nose of the nearby people through breathing. That is why it is important that anybody with a cough or cold should not go into public. You should self-isolate yourself or be isolated by force, if you are not responsible enough to govern yourself for the general good. Even at home, always cough or sneeze into a handkerchief which you should frequently wash, dry and iron with a hot flat-iron or use a disposable tissue which you should then, either flush in the toilet or incinerate in a Sigiri. Do not spray the public or your family with your mucous or spittle through primitively sneezing or coughing without precautions or blocking your output in the manner suggested. Once the individuals control coughing and sneezing, then the next danger point is touching surfaces with infected hands: tables, door-handles, telephone hand-sets etc. Here, the answer is to cough and sneeze into the tissue which you destroy so that your hands are not contaminated.
You can read the whole president’s speech by download this pdf file. Otherwise, Naterrow will keep you updated on the development of the Corona Virus in Uganda.