The government of Uganda through the Minister for Works and Transport, Gen Katumba Wamala has said they may consider halting the use of public transport means if the operators continue to flout Covid preventive guidelines.
Gen Wamala tweeted on Monday that it has come to his attention that taxi operators and motorists are disobeying the set guidelines to slow the spread of coronavirus infection. He was not specific on what exactly is being flouted.
There have been cases where passengers have been seen in taxis, buses and on boda bodas without their masks on. There are also cases where taxis are carrying passengers above the required capacity especially during evening times when traffic officers have left the roads.
“Fellow Ugandans, it has come to my attention that some taxi operators and motorists are not obeying the COVID19 guidelines in place,” the Minister wrote in a tweet.
He added that with the increasing cases of community transmission, “we may be forced to halt public transport”.
Uganda’s public transport resumed early in June after two months of restrictions due to coronavirus.
In reopening the public means, government set conditions – that trains, taxis and buses will only carry half their passenger capacity.
Boda Bodas resumed normal operations on July 26 with a requirement to wear a helmet (for cyclist) and a face mask for both the cyclist and rider. The cyclists were also directed to record details of the riders including names, telephone contacts and National Identity Card details.
This comes in the wake of a spike in Covid related deaths and positive cases so far registered in the Kampala metropolitan area.
Last week, the Minister for Kampala Capital City, Betty Amongi warned that government will step up its law enforcement to ensure the public complies with the Covid guidelines especially the failure to wear masks.
“The non compliance which we see daily is worrying. Even where people have masks, they are not wearing. Those in work places, they aren’t wearing them. Therefore, we will now scale up enforcement,” Amongi told reporters.
“People had made fun about enforcement in respect to LDUs and others, but we must now work with the multi-sectoral committee and Ministry of Health to ensure that we undertake serious enforcement,” she added.
Last week, Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng noted that the response to Covid particularly in Kampala is becoming complex.
She said the easing of the lockdown could have allowed importation of infections into the city and led to community transmission.
“This signals tougher times ahead and the much need for compliance with the Presidential directives, SOPs and statutory instruments in place for this public health threat,” she said.