President Museveni has directed that airports, borders and places of worship be reopened after being closed for over six months over the Coronavirus.
In March, government ordered the closure of all places with high concentration of people so as to help combat the Coronavirus pandemic but in the past two months, government has gradually relaxed the measures as the country opens up.
On Sunday, the President said it is high time for the economy to further open up but under strict guidelines.
“The international airport and land border will now be open for tourists coming and going out provided they tested negative 72 hours before their arrival in Uganda and tour operators ensure they don’t mix with Ugandans,” Museveni said.
The President explained that tour operators should arrange means to have tourists picked from the airport and driven straight to their respective destinations to avoid mixing with locals.
According to Museveni, business delegations coming to Uganda should also be treated the same way by their local partners.
Ugandans stuck abroad
Museveni also relaxed the restrictions on Ugandans returning from abroad whether via the airport or the land border.
In the past, all who returned home had to undergo the mandatory 14- day quarantine at their own cost whether their results are positive or negative of the virus but he said this had been reversed.
“Returning Ugandans, who have negative PCR results, will be allowed to go home. The Ministry of Health will only get their addresses for follow up,” he said.
Places of worship
Museveni said places of worship are now allowed to reopen with individual prayers or confessions but under strict Standard Operating Procedures.
“Prayers and fellowships whose numbers do not exceed 70 and by observing all the other SOPs,” he said.
The President noted that trans night, night prayers and Sunday schools are not allowed.
Bar still closed
Museveni noted that bars will remain closed because most of them are located in enclosed places whereas drunkards are not sober to observe the various Standard Operating Procedures.
Rationale for reopening
Museveni explained that the country cannot remain in the lockdown indefinitely but must learn to live with the virus.
“The economy must grow; otherwise bigger problems may show up. Besides, in many cases lockdown is not necessary because we have shown you how to be safe.’
The President further explained that since Ugandans have tested both scenarios of no deaths because of the lockdown and one of laxity and death, they should be careful with their lives.
“Our scientists are sure if people strictly adhere to guidelines, they will be safe. Many people moved on by listening to advise of false prophets that the virus was not there. In this case, by sowing negligence and disobedience we are reaping more sickness and deaths,” he said.
“Therefore, those who behave recklessly will reap what they have sowed. We would therefore like to appeal to everybody to be your own health worker. Understand all the avoidance measures, put them in practice for your own good and for the good of others.”
Uganda has recorded 6287 cases and only 63 deaths since the first case of Coronavirus was registered in March.
Summary of Museveni address
1.Schools to re-open on October 15th for candidate classes of P-7, S-4, S-6, finalists in tertiary colleges and finalists in universities.
2.International Airport and land borders opened for tourists and Ugandans they tested negative 72 hours before arrival in Uganda
- Restrictions on movements on border districts are lifted.
- Curfew, from 9pm to 6am maintained but boda bodas stop at 6pm
- Places of worship opened but under strict SOPs; night prayers, transnights, Sunday schools not allowed.
- Open air activities of sports will re-open with no spectators
- Casinos, gaming centres and cinemas remain closed.
- Bars shall remain closed.
- Hotels will continue operating following the SOPs agreed with the Ministry of Health.
- Restaurants should continue to emphasize the takeaways. Indoor restaurant services should be minimized and follow the SOPs.
- Mobile Markets, monthly cattle auction and produce markets, should remain closed as the Ministry of Health continues to develop SOPs.
- Mass gatherings are still prohibited.