Covid-19 lockdown looms as Museveni set to address the nation over surging cases

A recent surge in Covid-19 cases will Sunday night glue over 15milllion Ugandans to media outlets as president Museveni announces the way forward in Uganda’s quest to contain the pandemic.

“I will address the country today on the resolutions and measures passed by the National Task Force on Covid-19. Tune in to the different radio and TV stations across the country starting at 8:00 pm to follow the address,” Mr Museveni tweeted on Sunday morning.

A source at the Wednesday meeting on Covid-19 mitigation said “an absolute lockdown was deliberated as an option far from consideration with the FY2021/22 budget in sight.”

Mr Museveni who said on Friday that Uganda was entering a new wave ‘‘with a wider spectrum of dangerous new variants’’ is expected to issue several measures warranting amplified enforcement of Covid-19 SOPs.

Marked with the nation’s own Covid-19 records-breaking statistics, the transmissibility of an imminent third wave that has already seen the country register nearly 4,000 cases in just four days presents the country with not many alternatives other than resorting to previous methods aimed at combating the virus.

The president says, ‘‘If it had not been for Coronavirus, the economy was projected to grow by 6.2% in FY2020/21’’ but that target drooped by about 3%.

Speaking while in isolation but on path to joining over 47,700 recovered patients in Uganda, Mr Andrew Aliguma, 25, says he concurs with restrictions but not a total lockdown.

‘‘The economy needs to be open. A lockdown would deepen the gap between the rich and poor as well as affect demand and supply chains,’’ he said.

Mr Museveni who has previously underlined that life be prioritized over anything else will have to balance risks while declaring a return to restrictions in an over Shs65 trillion public debt-burdened country.

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Some citizens asked whether they’d comply with restrictions said:

‘‘This new wave is serious. The other day my friend was buried. I have several colleagues at work that are sick. We’ve been told to work from home. We have no choice but to obey,’’ Gift Kusasira, 31, said.

For City banker Amandah Kahinju, Covid-19 is here to stay like other renowned epidemics.

‘‘Even if they locked down metro and hard hit places, people roaming elsewhere would spread the disease. Corona is very real but just like AIDS and Ebola, it’s not going soon. We just have to be careful,’’ she said.

Uganda’s Covid-19 battle that was initially hit by cash theft scandals involving government officials is now dared by fake news, diminishing medical supplies, and then growing conspiracy theories on Covid-19 origins and vaccine impacts.

Godwin Japheth Walakira, a 21 year-old student insists that he’d defy restrictions ‘‘because government officials just want to reap money from the situation.’’

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Mr Museveni’s prime time address comes at a time when the viciousness of the viral disease has cumulatively soared Uganda’s case tally to 51, 676 with 374 fatalities with nearly 750, 000 vaccinated people in a 41 million people- state, since the March 2020 outbreak was confirmed.

Credit: DM

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