Minister for ICT and National Guidance Judith Nabakooba has urged the public to stop the complacency and take charge of their lives as the country grapples with increased COVID-19 cases and deaths amidst the 2021 general elections campaigning period.
Information from the Ministry of Health shows that Uganda confirmed 231 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, and 1 new COVID-19 related death sending the total cases to 16, 020 and 145 fatalities.
In her weekly address at the Ministry of ICT offices on Sunday, Nabakooba said that everyday, the country loses citizens to COVID-19 yet Ugandans still need to be reminded about the dangers of the virus.
“Apart from those who are already gone, hundreds of others continue to fight for their lives every day in the Intensive Care Units. Information from the Ministry of Health is that our Intensive Care Units are actually full to capacity,” Nabakooba said.
Nabakooba added that people need to understand that if one becomes critically ill from COVID-19 today, access to the Intensive Care Unit might be difficult and yet without it, chances of survival are very low.
It is upon this background that Nabakooba urged citizens to take the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) very personal and protect themselves and their loved ones.
“COVID-19 is a clear and present danger waiting to strike anyone anytime. However despite this sad reality, majority of Ugandans continue to take the preventive guidance lightly,” Nabakooba said.
On political campaigns
Nabakooba said that at the start of the political campaign period, all candidates were called upon to be extra vigilant and follow guidelines of Ministry of Health and it is sad to see that all these have already been ignored by various candidates.
“We call upon those candidates to lead by example, do not lead your people to death when you know how they can be safe,” Nabakooba added.
The death of Kamuli Municipality MP Rehema Watongola due to COVID-19 has prompted several politicians to call upon colleagues to respect the SOPs.
Gender and Labour minister Frank Tumwebaze tweeted, “Endangering public safety & health bse of the need to pander to whims of populism & irresponsible politicking should be roundly condemned & opposed!”
Endangering public safety & health bse of the need to pander to whims of populism & irresponsible politicking should be roundly condemned & opposed! https://t.co/5HZuMSc2Lo
— Frank K Tumwebaze,MP : Psalms 124 : 1-8 (@FrankTumwebazek) November 14, 2020
Burahya MP Margaret Muhanga added her voice, “The death of Hon Rehema Watongola (due to Covid-19) should honestly be an eye opener to our politicians who are risking the lives of millions of Ugandans by enticing & encouraging crowds and processions in campaigns. My heartfelt condolences to her family. RIP Hajat.”
The death of Hon Rehema Watongola (due to Covid-19) should honestly be an eye opener to our politicians who are risking the lives of millions of Ugandans by enticing & encouraging crowds and processions in campaigns. My heartfelt condolences to her family. RIP Hajat pic.twitter.com/5sVD7y5WFy
— Margaret Muhanga (@MargaretMuhanga) November 14, 2020
Muhanga recently lost a nephew, lawyer Chris Ibaale to COVID-19 in early November.
The New Vision reports that Watongola is the second Member of Parliament to succumb to COVID-19. Pallisa district Woman MP, Faith Alupo who passed on in September died of the disease too.
Nabakooba also urged the reopened sectors such as open markets, casinos and others to ensure that the guidelines against COVID-19 are followed to the dot.