Ugandan authorities threaten to place Kampala under lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise

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A man wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus walks in an empty taxi park in Kampala, Uganda, on March 26, 2020. PHOTO | BADRU KATUMBA | AFP
FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus walks in an empty taxi park in Kampala, Uganda. PHOTO | BADRU KATUMBA | AFP

Kampala could be placed under lockdown due to rising cases of the coronavirus in the Ugandan capital blamed on failure of residents to comply with health regulations.

Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi on Friday issued an ultimatum to Kampala residents to comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or else recommendations proposing a lockdown will be forwarded to President Yoweri Museveni.

“Kampala is the sitting room for Uganda, if we see that the sitting room is going to endanger the bedrooms, we shall ask that the sitting room be closed to safeguard the bedrooms. It is up to us to avoid the lockdown,” Amongi said.

Amongi said that workplaces, arcades and public transport had been identified as the areas in which COVID-19 transmission was being accelerated.

58 arcades risk closure unless they comply with the laid out SOPs, Amongi said.

“We want your cooperation, in the next seven days, let us be able to turn around some complaint measures to avoid another lockdown.”

On Monday, the Minister of Works and Transport Edward Wamala said the government may reimpose the ban on public transport amid reports of a section of motorists flouting COVID-19 regulations

Uganda has consistently reported low numbers of daily COVID-19 positive cases, however, in recent days; it has begun reporting increasing numbers of cases, particularly in Kampala, raising concern among authorities.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health reported 94 new COVID-19 cases, with Kampala accounting for more than half of the cases. Kampala (15) also accounts for more than 75 percent of COVID-19 related deaths registered in the country (19).

Uganda has recorded a total of 1,750 COVID-19 cases as of August 20.

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