The Ministry of Health has introduced new instruments on public health to help the country cope with the second wave of the novel Coronavirus outbreak.
Health minister Dr Ruth Jane Aceng read out the new instruments that empower government agencies to arrest persons who refuse to wear masks in public.
The instruments also dictate that it is upon every individual to immediately report to the authorities a suspected case of COVID-19 in the community.
Hawking and sale of non-food items is also prohibited.
Below are the instruments in detail.
COMPILED BY JONAH KIRABO
2021 No. ……
The Public Health (Control of COVID – 19) Rules, 2021.
(Under sections 11, 27 and 29 of the Public Health Act, Cap. 281)
IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred upon the Minister by sections 11, 27 and 29 of the Public Health Act, Cap.281, these Rules are made this 1st day of July, 2021.
1. Title and commencement
(1) These Rules may be cited as the Public Health (Control of
COVID – 19) Rules, 2021.
(2) These Rules shall be deemed to have come into force on 18th June, 2021.
In these Rules—
“local authority” means a local council as defined in the Local Governments Act;
“market” means a market established by, maintained, managed or controlled by or for a local council under the Markets Act;
“medical officer” means any registered medical practitioner in the employment of Government, but does not include a licensed medical practitioner;
“medical officer of health” means the Director General of Health Services or any medical officer in the employment of Government and includes any member of the Government medical subordinate staff being a registered or licensed medical practitioner or other medical practitioner appointed by the Director General of Health Services to act as such in any district;
“medical practitioner” means a person who is registered or licensed as such under any law in force in Uganda, governing the registration of medical practitioners.
Notification and Treatment of COVID – 19
3. Responsibility for notification of COVID – 19
(1) Every owner, person in charge of, or occupier of premises, and every employer and head of a household, who becomes aware that any person who is residing on his or her premises or who is in his or her employment, is suffering from COVID – 19, shall immediately notify a medical officer or a medical practitioner.
(2) Any local authority who becomes aware or who has reason to suspect that any person residing in his or her area is suffering from COVID – 19, shall immediately notify a medical officer or a medical practitioner.
4. Medical officer of health and medical practitioner to notify
(1) Every medical officer of health or medical practitioner who attends to, or who is called in to visit a patient, shall immediately, on becoming aware that the patient is suffering from COVID – 19, refer the patient to the nearest hospital.
(2) Every medical officer of health or medical practitioner who becomes aware, by post-mortem examination or otherwise, that any person has died of COVID – 19, shall immediately inform the head of the household, or the occupier of the premises, or any person who has been in attendance on the deceased person, of the infectious nature of COVID – 19 and of the precautions to be taken to prevent its transmission to other persons.
5. Power of search
(1) A medical officer or any health inspector, or other person acting on the written instructions of a medical officer, may enter any premises in order to search for any case of COVID – 19, or to inquire whether there is or has been on the premises any case of COVID – 19.
(2) Where any health inspector or other person discovers any case of COVID – 19, he or she shall notify a medical officer.
6. Power of medical officer of health to disinfect premises
Where a building or premises has clinical signs of contamination with COVID – 19 or where a medical officer of health has information of contamination of a building or premises, the medical officer of health may decontaminate or cause the decontamination of the affected building or premises.
7. Escape from isolation or quarantine
(1) Where a person who is confined in a place designated for isolation or quarantine for COVID – 19 escapes from the place, a medical officer shall immediately notify the police and request the police to apprehend and return the person to the designated place.
(2) Any person who—
(a) aids a person who is confined in a place designated for isolation or quarantine for COVID – 19, in escaping or attempting to escape from the place; or
(b) conveys anything or causes anything to be conveyed into a place designated for isolation or quarantine for COVID – 19 with intent to facilitate the escape of a person referred to in subparagraph (a),
commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for two months.
8. Carriers of disease
(1) In this rule, “carrier” includes any person who, although he or she does not at the time present the clinical symptoms of COVID-19, has been proved, or is believed, on reasonable grounds, to be harbouring the infection and consequently to be liable to cause the spread of COVID – 19.
(2) Any person who is believed or suspected, on reasonable grounds, by a medical officer of health to be a carrier shall provide, on request to the medical officer of health, or to any person authorised in writing by the medical officer of health, specimens of discharges or other material required for examination and investigation.
(3) Where a medical officer of health determines that any person is believed or suspected on reasonable grounds to be a carrier and that the necessary examinations and investigations cannot be properly carried out at the house or place of residence of that person, the medical officer of health may order that person to proceed or to be removed to a hospital or other suitable place for the purpose of examination and investigation and to remain or to be detained in that place for such reasonable period as may be required for that purpose.
(4) Every carrier shall at all times observe and give effect to all reasonable instructions given to him or her by the medical officer in regard to the disposal of his or her infectious materials and the cleansing of articles used by him or her, and any other precautions for preventing the spread of infection.
(5) Every carrier, who so wishes, shall, within seven days before the change, inform the local authority and the medical officer of his or her intention to change his or her place of residence or work and of his or her intended new place of residence or work, which shall in any case be within the district.
9. Disposal of bodies
The bodies of all persons who die from COVID – 19 shall be disposed of in conformity with the directions of a medical officer of health.
Control of COVID – 19
10. Extension of curfew
The curfew imposed throughout Uganda by S.I. 55 of 2020 shall, until 30th July, 2021 start at 1900 hours on each day and end at 0530 hours on the following day.
11. Indefinite closure of certain places and indefinite suspension of certain activities
(1) The closure of the places and premises and the ban of activities and activities specified in this rule, as imposed by S.I. 83 of 2020, is extended under this rule—
(a) bars, night clubs, discotheques and cinema halls;
(b) prayers in open spaces, outside premises of churches and mosques;
(c) seminars, workshops, conferences and cultural related meetings;
(d) indoor and outdoor concerts and indoor sports and sports events;
(e) pre-primary schools; and
(f) gymnasiums and massage parlors.
(2) A person who operates a place or premises or who conducts any activity or event specified in subrule (1) commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding two months.
12. Closure of certain places and suspension of certain activities until 30th July 2021
(1) The places or premises and the activities or events, specified in this subrule, are closed or suspended, as the case may be, until 30th July 2021—
(b) schools and institutions of higher learning;
(c) the sale of non-food items outside designated markets;
(d) house parties;
(e) political rallies and political meetings;
(f) the Kikuubo business center in Kampala Capital City, and subject to rule 13
(h), shopping arcades and shopping malls; and
(g) trading in live animals at places designated for this purpose by the local authorities.
(2) A person who operates a business, opens premises or conducts any activity specified in subrule (1) commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding two months.
13. Premises and businesses allowed to operate
The premises and businesses specified in this rule are allowed to operate—
(a) restaurants premised in hotels;
(b) restaurants located outside hotels; to offer take-away services;
(c) retail shops outside shopping malls and shopping arcades;
(d) motor repair garages and metal fabricator workshops;
(e) markets; for the sale of food items;
(f) shops dealing in agricultural chemicals and seeds, veterinary drugs and detergents;
(h) supermarkets and the premises in paragraphs (b), (f) and (g) of this rule located inside shopping malls and shopping arcades;
(i) factories and construction sites; and
(j) places of worship, where the people gathered do not exceed 20 in number.
14. Marriage ceremonies etc. allowed
(1) Marriage ceremonies, wedding parties, vigils and funerals are permitted where the people gathered do not exceed 20 in number.
(2) A person who conducts a marriage ceremony contrary to subrule (1) or who is in charge of a wedding party, vigil or funeral that contravenes subrule (1), commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding two months.
15. Government meetings allowed
Meetings of the Cabinet, Parliament, and local governments and judicial proceedings are permitted as may be determined by the respective head of each.
16. Prohibition of use of motor vehicles and engineering plants
(1) With effect from 2200 hours on 18th June 2021 until 30th July 2021, no person shall drive any class of motor vehicle or engineering plant on any road in Uganda.
(2) Subrule (1) shall not apply to the following categories of motor vehicles or engineering plants—
(a) motor vehicles or engineering plants used for medical services, including ambulance services;
(b) motor vehicles or engineering plants of the Uganda Police Force;
(c) motor vehicles or engineering plants of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force;
(d) motor vehicles or engineering plants used for electricity services;
(e) motor vehicles used for media services;
(f) motor vehicles of the Uganda Revenue Authority;
(g) motor vehicles used for security related services;
(h) motor vehicles or engineering plants used for delivery services, where the vehicle or engineering plant shall not carry more than two passengers, including the driver;
(i) motor vehicles used to transport tourists, where the vehicles shall not carry more than 50% of the number of passengers that the vehicle is licensed to carry;
(j) motor vehicles used to provide funeral related services;
(k) motor vehicles used by diplomats;
(l) motor vehicles and engineering plants for garbage collection;
(m) motor vehicles for selected Government services;
(n) motors vehicles that may be permitted by the Resident District Commissioner or a person authorized by the Resident District Commissioner; and
(o) motor vehicles or engineering plants as may be permitted by the ministry responsible for transport.
(3) Until 30th July, 2021, a motorcycle shall only carry cargo and shall not carry a passenger or passengers and is not permitted to be used on any road in Uganda after 1700 hours on each day.
(4) A person who contravenes subrule (1) or subrule (3), commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding two months.
17. Wearing of facial masks
(1) Every person shall, at all times, while outside his or her
place of residence, wear a facial mask.
(2) A person who contravenes this rule, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two months.
18. Prohibition of hawking, street vending and selling of non- food items in markets
(1) Hawking and street vending is prohibited.
(2) The selling of non-food items in any market in Uganda
(3) A person who contravenes this rule, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two months.
19. Powers of police and local authorities
For the enforcement of these Rules, the police and the local authorities may enter any place or premises and may inspect any motor vehicle or engineering plant.
20. Revocation of S.I. 83 of 2020
The Public Health (Control of COVID – 19) Rules, 2020 are revoked.
DR. JANE RUTHACENG OCERO,
Minister of Health.