Uganda closes schools for six weeks in response to surge in COVID-19 cases

Students in school uniform walking down a dirt road to Kibale, Kibale District, Uganda.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday announced that all schools will close for six weeks following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, particularly among schools.

According to government statistics, 948 cases were reported in 43 schools from 22 districts. Kampala, Gulu, Masaka and Oyam districts combined constitute 61 percent of the reported cases.

FILE PHOTO: Students in school uniform walking down a dirt road to Kibale, Kibale District, Uganda. (Getty Images)

Museveni also announced that all teachers to must get vaccinated before resuming duty during the opening of the schools.

Uganda is currently facing the second wave of the pandemic, which is more deadly and devastating. Health experts say the wave is worse than the first one since it is more transmissible and affecting young people.

Museveni noted the most affected age group in this current wave are the young people aged, 20-39 years old with observed increasing transmission among the 10-19 yrs.

Museveni also suspended religious gatherings/prayers in places of worship for a similar period as were conferences, except cabinet, legislature and judiciary sittings.

As regards travel, travel from category A countries remains suspended. Travelers and passenger flights from category one countries were banned from traveling into the country starting May 1.

Public transport from district to district was also banned for six weeks with effect from June 10. Private vehicles were prohibited from carrying more than three passengers, and no inter-district movement is allowed for 14 days.

Bicycles and motorcycle taxis, locally known as boda bodas, can ferry goods and not more than one passenger.

Museveni also announced the number of people at burials, vigils and funerals to be capped at 20 with strict adherence to the standard operating procedures, as are marriage ceremonies, parties and other social gatherings.

Weekly markets and monthly cattle markets were also suspended for 42 days. The existing curfew will also remain in place and run from 9.00 pm to 5:30 am.

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