Coronavirus; Museveni explains school closures, ban on gatherings
Uganda has adopted perhaps one of the most radical steps of preventing the Coronavirus since the start of the outbreak three months ago in China, by closing all schools and banning most public gatherings except markets, for 32 days. This is even before it records a single case of Coronavirus in the country.
Many other countries have imposed similar aggressive steps but these have happened only after a case of the disease has been confirmed in their geographical boundaries.
In a televised national address on Wednesday, President Yoweri Museveni justified the radical step by saying, in the event of a positive case of Coronavirus, schools and public gatherings tend to be worst affected.
He said: “I decided to close the education sector, even before the occurrence of a single coronavirus incidence, because I have observed that once a single case is discovered, there is so much stampede that the first sector to be affected is transport,” he said.
He added: “There are 10.5 million children in primary schools, two million children in the pre-primary schools, two million students in secondary schools—314,000 students in Universities and tertiary institutions.” He said
According to the president, there are a total of almost 15 million young Ugandans, distributed in 36,000 government and private primary schools, 7000 pre-primary schools, 5500 secondary schools, 49 universities and 1543 tertiary institutions.
He added: “Uganda has been spared from this virus by the mercies of God despite the false alarms. So, as God-fearing people, we need to pray for the whole country. I ask each one of you to pray in your homes, and God will hear us,” said the President.
The president made these remarks while addressing the country about the deadly coronavirus at State house Entebbe on Wednesday this week.
Religious and other public gatherings also banned
Museveni also suspended all religious and cultural gatherings with immediate effect.
“You shall have pray from home on your televisions and radio stations,” he said.
In the interest of our health, this should be suspended for a month with immediate effect,” he said.
Public rallies and cultural meetings have also been suspended for 32 days.
The president also banned Ugandans from traveling to high risk countries. He said returning Ugandans will be quarantined at their cost.
“All outbound movements of all Ugandans going to or through Italy, France, South Korea, China, UK, USA, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway, Malaysia, Pakistan, San Marino, Austria, Netherlands has been banned for 32 days,” he said.
The government has however left public transport, and industries and hotels to continue operating, with approved Standard Operating procedures that shall be issued by the Ministry of Health.
Uganda’s drastic step comes after two neighbouring countries; Kenya and Rwanda recorded cases of the virus and subsequent rise in number of people infected.