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Joint operations resume as Ugandans across the country ignore 9pm curfew

Ugandan police patrol at night in Kampala during height of the lockdown. FILE PHOTO AFP

 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The public has been cautioned against violating guidelines that were put in place to control the spread of COVID-19. Such guidelines include, among others, a nighttime curfew which starts at 9 pm. and runs until 5.30 am, every day.

However, although the curfew was imposed, it’s not enforced in several parts of the country where the movement of people is not restricted even during curfew time. Bars are also operating freely, even though, according to presidential guidelines, such businesses are super-spreaders of the COVID-19 virus.

In view of the developments, joint security agencies comprising the Uganda Police, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces and the prisons services have cautioned that they are intensifying night operations in the enforcement of curfew. This, they say, is to ensure that Uganda is able to control the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, that was detected in the country.

According to the Ministry of Health, a more deadly variant of the COVID-19 variant, akin to the one devastating India was recently detected in Uganda, causing anxiety on the country’s ability to manage it, given the level of laxity in enforcement of recommended control measures.

“We want to inform the public that due to the emergence of a dangerous and more transmissible strain of COVID-19, the Joint Security Agencies, have heightened enforcement of the COVID-19 measures, including the night curfews,” reads the statement which was issued on Sunday.

Fred Enanga the Police spokesperson said they have intensified inspections, checks and raids to counter all violations and defaulters of the curfew and other Standards Operating Procedures. He says that the joint security agencies have asked all commanders to heighten enforcement operations during curfew time, as well as all the other COVID-19 protocols. Enanga adds that all non-essential movements during the curfew time will be restricted as a measure to reduce reckless and risky interactions at night.

“Our areas of interest include bars operating illegally, places of entertainment, and gatherings of more than 200 people except under very exceptional circumstances by the Ministry of Health. We also target motorists, who are not observing the load capacities,” Enanga said and added that all persons found breaching the Ministry of Health SOPs and the curfew guidelines will be subjected to fines, penalties and or court action, motorcycles and motor vehicles will be impounded.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed nearly 3.3 million lives around the world, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S. has suffered the most deaths, with more than 581,000, followed by Brazil with more than 421,000 deaths, and India, with more than 238,200 deaths.

India’s health ministry reported that they had recorded more than 401,000 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, and nearly 4,200 deaths in the previous 24-hour period, although public health experts believed the actual numbers were likely much higher.

There have been more than 157 million global infections, according to Johns Hopkins. The cumulative confirmed cases in Uganda as of March 7, 2020, are 42,355 people.

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