Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has urged Ugandans who do not have ‘urgent issues’ that require them to travel to Kampala, to stay away from the country’s capital and the neighbouring Wakiso district for a while.
He made the appeal in his televised national address on the COVID-19 situation in the country on Saturday evening amidst reports of widespread community transmission in different parts of Uganda.
Assessing a map showing the distribution of COVID-19 cases in the country, the president observed that a big portion of the country has very few cases while Kampala and Wakiso Districts have a high concentration of infections.
Museveni said people from the safe zone in the countryside coming to the city are more likely to import the virus to those areas.
“I am here once again to remind you that the COVID-19 variants are here with us, these are even affecting young people. Our numbers are rising quickly and the onus is on everyone now not to let your guard down,” Museveni said in a broadcast carried live on national TV and radios.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Health reported 690 new confirmed virus infections with one death. However, it was noted that that nearly 600 of the new cases are contacts and alerts registered in Kampala and Wakiso districts.
Museveni blamed the rising numbers of cases in these areas on negligence by the city dwellers that he said have ignored the recommended personal preventive measures against COVID-19.
“Our success together hinges on minimizing infections and managing the infected quickly. If we don’t control numbers, health facilities can’t cope. If we have got many people, how will we concentrate on them? If numbers are too many, hospital beds will be overwhelmed,” he said.
Before his address, many people thought that the president was likely to impose another lockdown to contain the new infections. To their surprise, Museveni said he had just come to sound a warning to the whole country.
Museveni noted that on Wednesday next week, he is going to convene a full scale national COVID-19 task force, which will recommend several preventive measures to curb the further spread of the disease.
He said, “in the due course, we shall sit with the National Task Force on COVID-19 to determine how we can proceed as a country. I will then address you regarding our decisions. Remember to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
The president said the agreed-upon guidelines will be fully implemented to avoid choking the health system with many cases. He also added that while the numbers are increasing, the situation is still manageable. Amidst the scare of the new wave, the president said that adherence to wearing face masks and avoiding gatherings would go a long way to control the numbers.
In addition to the other preventive measures, president Museveni said the use of vaccines is the most effective way to control the disease. Since vaccines are the best option of fighting the pandemic, President Museveni says that manufacturing countries like India should reconsider the ban slapped onto the exportation of vaccines since such acts undermine international cooperation.
While speaking to journalists recently, Dr. Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary at the Health Ministry noted that the number of infections increased by 80 percent between March and April, adding that the second wave of COVID-19 is “severe.”
A mini-survey conducted by URN on Saturday revealed that hospitals around Uganda are filling up with COVID-19 patients. In many areas, the COVID-19 treatment units that were closed at the beginning of the year are now open and filling up following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Since March 2020 when the pandemic was confirmed in the country, Uganda has registered a cumulative figure of 46,623 covid19 cases. Out of which 43401 have recovered while 362 have died.