What next after the 42 days of lockdown?

Coronavirus outbreak

Health experts have shared insights into what is likely to happen to the country, once the 42 days of the lockdown are over.

The lockdown was instituted by President Museveni last month to curb the rising Covid-19 infection rates. The lockdown is expected to end in the last week of July.

Yet with no vaccines in sight, infections still skyrocketing and deaths reaching alarming rates, Ugandans have been advised to tighten their belts as the second wave is ‘yet to reach its peak.’

Uganda was one of those African countries that had been lauded for its containment of the spread of  Covid-19 during the early days of the pandemic.

Those days are now far behind us and the second wave appears to be a testing ground as the country registers several deaths with the health system struggling to keep a float.

Dr Alfred Driwale, the Assistant Commissioner Vaccines and Immunisation at the Health ministry told NBS TV in an interview that the country could be headed for worse times.

"The Covid-19 second wave which we are experiencing is expected to reach its peak in July and August, if we do not take stringent measures, these numbers are going to increase," Dr Driwale said.

Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, the Dean Public Health at Makerere University said that even as the number of new infections go down, the deaths seem to be increasing because so many people are sick while several are exposed and will fall sick in two weeks.

Yet what’s likely to happen after 42 days in a situation where only one million out of 45 million people are vaccinated?

Alfred Driwale the assistant commissioner, Vaccines and Immunisation, says the unavailability of vaccines leaves us with little choice but to focus on other preventive measures.

"We will be wearing masks longer. We shall maintain social distance longer, and we will sanitise longer," he said.

Dr Rhoda Wanyenze the dean, public health at makerere university said that what we need to question is how Uganda got here in the first place.

"The super spreader events have been many. The introductions, weddings grew bigger, people even said how did we got through elections without Covid-19" " Dr Wanyenze mused.

Wanyenze said the effect of these super spreader events, like elections, are what we are seeing now.

"Normally what happens is you can take two months with the infections is silently penetrating the community, most people don’t get symptoms, so when it blows up, don’t think it just started now," she said.

Unlike the first lockdown when the communities were infection free, this time round the transmission is happening in communities. This has been hampered by the unavailability of vaccines.

"The vaccines have factors that are beyond our control. When they are available we shall give them out, if they are not, we will go with our alternatives which are available," Wanyenze said.

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said in a presser on Friday last week that more vaccines are expected to be procured later this month and in August.

But even then Wanyenze said vaccination alone is not enough.

“Even if we got this vaccine rolled out, you would need around two months to be safe. Vaccines alone will not do it. We need to combine them with other measures," she said.

Additional reporting by Jonah Kirabo

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