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Uganda tightens COVID-19 lockdown measures

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UGANDA’S President Yoweri Museveni has closed schools and places of worship and has forbidden social gatherings for 42 days as the COVID-19 situation in the East African country has “dramatically changed”.

  In an ongoing televised speech, Ugandan President Museveni says the measures are meant to cushion the country from a new wave of Covid-19, which has included all the new variants from South Africa, Indian and the UK.

  Uganda reported 1,259 new cases out of 7,289 samples tested on Saturday, making the total cases found in the country to be 52,935. There have been 383 deaths overall and some 634 cases were currently hospitalised in the country.

   Schools that had reopened for the second term on Monday, will now be closed and worship centres like churches and mosques will also be shut. He also suspended public gatherings including political meetings, except for cabinet sittings and emergency government committees including those of parliament.

  The Ugandan leader, whose country had lifted much of travel and movement restrictions in February, admitted that poor compliance with public health guidelines, forged travel certificates and what he called concealment of the status of health in some schools had conspired to raise the number of infections.

  Since March, he said some 948 cases of COVID-19 were detected in 43 schools in 22 districts across the country. They included the capital, Kampala, Guku, Masaka and Oyam, which accounted for six in every ten new infections in schools and colleges. 

  “I would like to remind you all that COVID-19 control and prevention is a responsibility of everyone. I, therefore, urge all Ugandans to adhere to SOPs; wash hands with soap and water frequently, wear face masks, social distancing, avoid mass gatherings, avoid touching mouth, nose and eyes.

  “Since March, Uganda had reported new variants among travellers returning to the country. They included the Indian variant (B.1.617), the South African variant (B.1.351) and the UK variant (B.1.1.7) which are more aggressive,” he said.

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