Uganda toughens virus restrictions as cases surge

482

KAMPALA, June 19, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on
Friday announced additional restrictions to curb Covid-19, including
suspending inland travel, as infections hit record levels in the East African
country.

Under the new measures, both public and private transport were banned but
international borders will remain opened for tourists and freight cargo.

The government will impose a night-time curfew from 7:00 pm to 5:30 am,
moving the start time up two hours from the current 9:00 pm.

“All passenger vehicles are frozen,” Museveni told a televised address,
saying the movement was “the cornerstone” of the flare-up of recent
infections.

Market traders — essential to the food supply in the landlocked country —
were directed to stay at their stalls and not return home. Factories and
construction sites were also encouraged to keep their workers on site.

The new curbs will last six weeks.

Uganda last year took drastic measures to restrict movements when it had
only a handful of coronavirus cases — imposing one of the earliest lockdowns
and closures on the continent.

The landlocked country gradually eased those restrictions as Covid-19 cases
dropped.

However, severe infections have soared in recent weeks and overwhelmed the
fragile health system.

Doctors have told AFP that oxygen and other essential medical supplies have
run low as daily cases have increased in the past three weeks from fewer than
100 to over 1,700.

This is despite tightened restrictions announced last week including the
closure of schools, bars and most gatherings.

“The hospitals are full,” Museveni warned.

“The rapid surge in the intensity of the pandemic appears unprecedented,
but still manageable” by introducing restrictions similar to those employed
at the beginning of the pandemic, Museveni added.

Uganda has registered 70,893 cases of Covid-19 of which of 582 have been
fatal.

Inoculation, as in many African nations, has been slow in part due to
vaccine apathy and limited supplies.