By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: The national taskforce charged with spearheading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is instructed to review the reopening of schools following the national lockdown in March 2020 after the outbreak of the virus in the country.
This has been revealed through a statement issued by Judith Nabakooba, Minister of ICT and National Guidance stating that President Yoweri Museveni instructed the taskforce to review the possibility of a phased reopening of schools, starting with candidate classes and clinical medical students.
The taskforce is also supposed to review the status of the remaining sectors that are still closed like tourism, reopening of Entebbe International Airport among others.
Nabakooba said the team is supposed to report back to the president early next week and thereafter, he will address the country on the next step forward.
Read Nabakooba’s full statement on President’s instructions to Taskforce,
Today in a space of one month, we have 29 deaths and the number continues to grow every day. That is about one person dying every day.
New infections continue to be registered every day and we are now at 2847 cases as of yesterday.
With all this, bars are illegally operating; people are attending weddings and funerals in large numbers without masks and social distancing.
It is on this basis that His Excellency the President Kaguta Museveni has directed the enforcement of strict COVID-19 directives.
Among the directives is the immediate arrest of any politician or government official who directly or indirectly facilitates political campaign gatherings or big rallies.
I therefore want to alert fellow politicians to stick to the guidance by the electoral commission or else risk being arrested.
Police has been instructed to enforce other existing guidelines such as curfew time for boda bodas, private and public transport and others.
On Friday, His Excellency met with the National Task Force team and instructed them to review the possibility of a phased reopening of schools starting with candidate classes and clinical medical students.
The Task force has also been tasked to review the status of other remaining sectors such as churches, mobile markets, the tourism sector and the airport.
The review will also include the status of the entertainment industry such as bars, cinemas, nightclubs and sports events.
The Task force will provide a report to His Excellency on these issues by early nextwill then address the nation on the next steps.
We have seen Boda Boda leaders, Taxi operators coming out to support the police in enforcing the agreed upon guidelines.
As a result there has been some improvement with passengers being more responsive to the guidelines.
I want to call upon all other sectors such as Markets, Arcades, individuals at the grass root and family level to embrace the system of community policing.
In just one week alone, we have seen the situation is Kampala continuing to escalate.
Almost all major Banks, Media Houses and other entities have all reported cases at some of their branches and offices.
I would like to remind all institutions to always refer to the existing guidance regarding working from home especially for non essential workers.
Uganda has good and affordable internet that can enable smooth operations from anywhere in the country. Let us decongest our offices and encourage working from home.
When it comes to Mulago Hospital, I have seen some wrong information that the Hospital has been closed to the public when it comes to treating and taking COVID-19 samples.
I want to assure the public that Mulago Hospital is still open to everyone and for all diseases. The rumor that it has been designated for VIPs only is not true.
I therefore want to appeal to anyone or any institution that thinks they have had contact with COVID-19; please continue going to Mulago for assistance and other government hospitals as well.
Let us continue observing the guidelines by His Excellency the President and Ministry of Health.
In case you suspect to have come into contact with COVID-19, please reach out to the nearest government hospital for assistance before it is too late.
For God and my Country
Judith Nabakooba (MP)
Minister ICT & National Guidance.”
These come after Museveni in July said that government would before September make a final decision on whether to reopen schools or not and also guide students on the way forward.
He also added that the options will be either to open school starting with candidate classes or declare a dead year and advised that for the meantime, government is looking at remote learning through radio and television as being an alternative.
According to the ministry of health, Uganda as of Friday had a cumulative total of 2,847 COVID-19 cases, 1,288 recoveries and 30 deaths since the index case was registered on March 21.