Museveni to address nation as spike in COVID-19 cases complicates easing of lockdown
The government’s plan to gradually relax the lockdown measures that have been in place since March 18, have now run into problems following a sharp rise in new cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng announced that her ministry recorded 84 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday May 30, with majority being truck drivers while the rest being contacts of previously tested persons.
With close to a week since relaxing the ban on the movement of private cars, many people anticipated the return of public transport on June 4, as President Museveni had indicated.
But with the latest spike in cases, some of which have reportedly had contact with the community, further easing of the lockdown, is likely to be jeopardised.
President Museveni is expected to address the nation tomorrow Monday June 1 at 8PM, according to Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance.
But during his several recent addresses, Museveni hinted that the primary goal of the government was to bring the pandemic under control so that it does not overwhelm the country’s healthcare system.
Indeed, the increase in new cases, represents a significant rise in the country’s COVID-19 curve, which appears to assault the president’s goal of keeping the curve down.
The President’s anticipated address comes at a time when member countries in East Africa appear to be failing to have a unified model of handling truck drivers. It was reported this week that Kenya truck drivers were being urged by Kenyan police to move towards Uganda where they have faced severe delays at Malaba border as they waited for testing.
Uganda is understood to be trying to shift the movement of her exports from road to water transport through Kisumu port.
The seriousness of the challenge of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases has forced the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to delay the recess of Parliament until after Tuesday as MPs debate emergency issues relating to COVID as well as the floods situation in the Rwenzori region.
Kadaga said through her twitter account that: “I had the intention of adjourning Parliament today. However, there are important matters in the country, which need to be addressed:
-The rising cases of #COVID19 in #Uganda;
-The need to repatriate Ugandans who are stranded outside the country;
-The issue of the flooding.”
It was revealed recently that the government had accepted the return of some 25,000 Ugandans who are stuck abroad. But with the country’s quarantine capacity still limited, and with most airlines still grounded, resolving this issue is likely to be a long and protracted process that could impose some major costs on the tax payer.