President Yoweri Museveni has ordered for closure of all schools, churches for a period of one month effective from Friday March 20, 2020.
Museveni made directives during a televised state of the nation address at State House Entebbe. The directive followed the outbreak of Coronavirus which exploded in China’s Wuhan City in Hubei Province. The virus is averred to have claimed over 5000 lives with over 200,000 people infected globally out of whom 67,000 have recovered.
Museveni said Uganda has over 15 million young people in schools and higher institutions. “Since we have a big number of people dealing with other diseases, we have to ensure this enemy doesn’t find a pile of dry grass and ignite”.
“The dry grass is the large gatherings that include students, these 15 million Ugandans are in schools. It is wise that we temporarily close schools primary, secondary and tertiary starting with Friday mid-day so that we deny the virus” he said.
With immediate effect, the president also suspended all church prayers and urged pastor to opt for a televised preaching in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.
“Hotels, Markets and other businesses will remain open but with standard operating procedures of regular washing of hands and temperature detector machines” he said
“Up to today, Uganda has not had any cases of Corona virus. There are countries that have suffered greatly like Italy, Malaysia, and San Morino among others. With immediate effect we ban the movement of Ugandans who have gone to or through.” He said adding that Ugandans should not plan to travel to or through countries affected by the virus.
Ugandans seeking to return to the country will not be stopped including those coming from high risk countries. But they will have to pay the cost of their quarantine in government designated facilities for a specified time.
The president also directed that burials should be conducted by relatives around since it can be postponed for one month.
As recommended by WHO, Museveni urged Ugandans to avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment and staying away from unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
“People with symptoms of acute respiratory infect practice cough etiquette of maintaining distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands.” He said
He said that he had decided to close institutions of education before a single occurrence of Coronavirus Uganda because had not observed what happens in the affected countries. The faster we run the better”
“The next concentration we shall deal with will be the religious concentration in church gatherings, mosques and they will be closed temporarily for one month for further management of this virus”
He said Ugandans coming in from outside from Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway, Australia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Italy will not be barred but they will be quarantined at their own cost.
Museveni also said funerals are a danger point and therefore encouraged burials to be conducted by immediate family members “We can’t ban burial but we request the burial is done by the immediate family members and other rituals done later. If the person is suspected to have died of Coronavirus, the state will take over the burial”
Museveni also warned that Ugandan style of wedding brings together a pentagon or hexagon of crowds that can be a source of great danger. Weddings and therefore, the wedding should be suspended for 32 days. Museveni also said monthly markets will be suspended for 32 days even though buying of crops and other items can continue at homestead level, without gathering in groups.
He further suspended the use of public transport unless it private transport. “The next front line is public transport. The danger is clear here. The advice here is to avoid travel unless it is absolutely necessary. If you don’t have your own car, don’t travel”