Uganda reopens zoo as lockdown restrictions ease

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A man washes his hands before entering a shopping arcade in Kampala, Uganda, July 22, 2020. (Photo by Nicholas Kajoba/Xinhua)
A man washes his hands before entering a shopping arcade in Kampala, Uganda, July 22, 2020. (Photo by Nicholas Kajoba/Xinhua)

Uganda on Saturday reopened the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) for tourists as the East African country eases the COVID-19 lockdown restriction measures.

UWEC said in a statement that the conservation center, located about 40 kilometers south of the capital, Kampala, opened to tourists with strict adherence to standard operating procedures put in place to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus.

The measures include mandatory wearing of face masks, temperature screenings of tourists, social distancing and hand sanitizing.

“After being shuttered for five months, we are once again welcoming guests with strict adherence to the standard operating procedures that were launched by the ministry of tourism, wildlife and antiquities on Friday afternoon,” said the statement.

The development comes barely two months after the country reopened its national parks for tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the parks and education center are now opened, Uganda’s borders and Entebbe International Airport remain closed as part of the government measures to avoid importing COVID-19 cases.

Tourism is one of Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earners, with the country set to lose about 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in tourism revenue because of COVID-19, according to the ministry of tourism.

Uganda, as of Aug. 7, has registered 1,267 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 1,115 recoveries and six deaths since the index case was reported on March 21, according to the ministry of health.

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