President Yoweri Museveni has said bodabodas, schools, places of worship and shopping arcades should remain closed as the national taskforce on covid-19 together with other stakeholders look for safety measures before they are allowed to operate again.
During his state of the nation address on covid-19 on Monday, Museveni said the restrictions on religious places should be maintained and re-evaluated on the last phase of lifting the pandemic measures and that bodabodas should continue with only transporting goods like they have been doing.
“Places of worship are characterized by the following risk profiles; Clustering with many people of unknown risk from multiple points of origin — these will open multiple congregations across several religious denominations countrywide and potential to fuel infections.Churches, mosques and other places of worship will remain closed to avoid further spread of covid-19. This is because it will be difficult to trace contacts in case of reported cases,” the President said.
“The boda-boda riders and the passengers are in close proximity during travel yet physical distancing is important. If allowed to carry passengers, it may increase the risk of spreading covid-19.”
Mr Museveni further stated that arcades and salons will also remain closed.
“Most of the activities in salons e.g. hairdressing, massages, etc., involve close contact between the dressers and their clients. Salons also often have many customers from multiple risk profiles and settings. Contact tracing of exposed individuals, if this occurred, could also be complex without detailed contact information of the customers. The restrictions on salons should be maintained given the experiences elsewhere. Salons have been documented to spread infections in other countries e.g. Ebola in West Africa, COVID-19 in the US, among others. NTF should direct the ministries of Health and Trade to engage with the salon owners to explore options for safety and training.
“Arcades should remain closed but the covid-19 taskforce together with KCCA and Ministry of Health should select some arcades to pilot safety measures before opening all of them,” Museveni noted.
Museveni also said schools should also wait to open.
“With the school population, let us be patient. In the meantime, we are going to launch a big long-distance education programme, certainly through radios. We are going to give free radio-sets to all homesteads,” he said.
On the issue of adjusting curfew time from 7pm to 8pm or more, the President said measure is meant to stop people from socialising at night and its a medical instrument that shouldn’t be tampered with.
“Some people have been talking about curfew, to either reduce the hours or remove it completely. The start of curfew at 7 pm and end at 6:30 am was deliberate to deter crime under the cover of darkness. Without curfew, some people can be tempted to commit crime but also risk the spread of covid-19.”
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