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RDCs admit failures in enforcing COVID-19 prevention guidelines

FILE PHOTO: A trader’s temperature being measured in the market

Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Chairpersons of district COVID-19 task forces in Ankole region have acknowledged difficulties in enforcing many of the standard operating procedures by the Ministry of Health.

Members of the business community and travelers are finding difficulty in wearing face masks or installing water strands at shops, markets and supermarkets across the districts of Mbarara, Ntungamo, Bushenyi and Rwampara. Vehicles are also carrying more than the acceptable number of passengers in disregard of set guidelines.

According to the guidelines, motor vehicles are only allowed to carry half of their usual load as they enforce social distancing and avoid person to person contact. But according to Rwampara Resident District Commissioner Remmy Turyabagyenyi Kateera, the taskforce is over stretched due to limited enforcement personnel.

As a result, Kateera says they have opted to look on even as people break the standard operating procedures.

He attributes this to the fact that nobody has succumbed to coronavirus but hastily says they have started working on the mindset of the people towards Covid-19.

In Mbarara, James Mwesigye, the chairperson of the task force said that many people cannot afford the cost of masks and many of the people breaking the guidelines are pushed to the edge by financial struggles and hardships.

Ntungamo District COVID-19 task force chairperson George Bakunda says they are failing to implement the guidelines mostly with boda boda riders and at burial ceremonies were people are gathering in numbers.

Lee Kakonge, a resident of Ishaka says people are no longer thinking about the restrictions in the absence of food to feed their families. Many cannot buy face masks while those operating bars have opted to disregard the presidential directives so that they can earn a living and sustain their livelihood.

Serdius Oukunda Salongo, the chairperson of boda boda operators in Mbarara municipality says that they were carrying passengers long before the president allowed them to resume operations because they are left with no option.

Mbarara District Health officer Dr Peter Sebutinde said that unlike the beginning when everyone was cautious, many of the people in the region have moved on and forgotten washing hands and the other guidelines.

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