Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | State Minister for Health Robinah Nabbanja has demanded the suspension of fishing activities on Lake Albert to control the spread of the novel coronavirus disease – COVID-19.
Authorities in Kikuube and Hoima districts had already announced a suspension of fishing activities in line with the nationwide lockdown announced by President Yoweri Museveni as a measure to control person to person interactions and close possible loopholes in the management of the disease.
The security committees in the two districts observed that some Ugandan fishermen cross to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they mix freely with the local communities there exposing them to infection. The Democratic Republic of Congo has recorded close to 3,000 COVID-19 cases and 69 deaths.
But despite the threat, the fishermen and local leaders in Bunyoro protested the suspension of fishing activities on the lake saying that the decision was not well-thought-out since fishing is the sole source of livelihood for the fishermen. They demanded that the authorities reverse the suspension and limit fishing to day time.
As a result, the security committee relaxed the suspension and allowed fishing during day time. However, Nabbanja says this could undermine the country’s efforts of combating the deadly pandemic and is now calling for the total suspension of activities on Lake
According to Nabbanja, if the fishermen are left to go on with fishing during day time, they could cross to DRC and mix freely with their counterparts and end up contracting the virus. She says the COVID-19 National Taskforce resolved that all fishing activities on Uganda’s water bodies especially in the border districts must be suspended until COVID-19 is brought under control.