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Govt suspends public transport to contain coronavirus

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Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has this evening issued an order suspending the use of public transport in order to cut the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 disease. Uganda today confirmed five new cases, pushing the number of those infected to 14.

He also announced that markets will now be allowed to sell only foodstuffs to reduce on congestion and that government vehicles will at district level be used to transport health officials on duty.

Addressing the nation at the State Lodge in Nakasero for the fifth time in a week, Museveni said, he has been pushed to this position because of the great danger that public transport poses.

“The remaining danger is public transport, people moving in shared vehicles, they don’t know one another they just meet in a mini bus, a taxi or bus. Even boda bodas, although they carry less people they are close to one another. We have therefore suspended all public vehicles to minimize movement,” Museveni said.

The vehicles suspended include all taxis, all coasters, minibuses, buses, passenger trains tuku tuku and boda bodas.

“The only vehicles that will be moving are private vehicles but shouldn’t carry more than three people including the driver. Even private vehicles parked with private members shouldn’t be allowed. All functions should wait until we first get out of this danger,” Museveni said.

He said trucks delivering cargo and food stuffs, delivery vans, pickups, other essential commodities will be allowed. Also allowed, vehicles belonging to security organs like the police and the army, ministry of health vehicles, some of the institutional vehicles doing essential work, vehicles for sanitary services like those of the KCCA  taking kasasiro among others.

Museveni however allowed the boda bodas to continue moving for as long as they are not carrying passengers but cargo.

“The person who went to Kisumu and back to Jinja didn’t walk, he travelled by fast means. That’s why the government has decided to suspend for 14 days all public transport,” Museveni said.

Meanwhile Museveni has also ordered that all cars belonging to the district must be parked so that they are used for emergence response to Coronavirus cases across the country.

“When they get information about a case there shouldn’t be a question of there is no vehicle, we are going to struggle to make sure that there is enough fuel for them,” Museveni said.

The other measures that the government has taken to stop the spread of coronavirus include the suspension of all nonfood vendors in the market.  This, according to the president is meant to decongest the markets.

“We said in order to avoid this problem, be maintain four meters? That’s why for now we wouldn’t like to close the market but to carry out some changes. Therefore, the markets should only be selling food stuffs matooke, sweet potatoes, cassava, rice, bean, cowpeas,  groundnuts etc,” Museveni said.

Museveni also ordered for the closure of nonessential government offices. He said each ministry should work out a plan of the essential staff that need to remain on duty and others should stay home.

“Uganda Revenue Authority must remain on duty because our goods are still coming into Uganda, somebody needs to clear those goods. We also need to collect those taxes. They will sit down and see how many people are needed maybe in rotation,” Museveni said.

Today the ministry of health announced that it had recorder five new coronavirus cases including an eight month old baby. This bring to 14 the number of people with coronavirus in Uganda.

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