By Andrew Irumba
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has Monday night postponed re-opening of schools, universities churches, mosques, bars, night clubs, Saunas,Gyms and other facilities where many people gather, for another one month, as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown.
The President revealed in his 15th Televised National Address on Coronavirus where he noted that after government successfully combating the spread of COVID-19, the country cannot risk children by sending them back to school at such an early time, because it exposes them to infection.
During his 14th National COVID-19 Address, Museveni had said that schools and Universities would reopen for only learners in candidate classes and finalists. However, he has since directed schools to postpone reopening for another one month as government studies the situation.
“We have decided we should not bite too much at a time. We have decided to postpone the opening of the schools for candidate classes for one month,” Museveni said, urging parents to embrace long-distance learning as opposed to face-to-face learning.
He revealed that government was proposing a donation of at least 2 TV sets per each village and radios such that learners can use them for their studies.
Commenting about truck drivers being the leading carriers of COVID-19 into Uganda, Museveni explained that he understood the anger of Ugandans about the truck drivers hence the move to ban the truck drivers.
He noted however, that the government of Uganda rejected this logic because it would affect Ugandans very badly, since truck drivers are essential.
He said that; “Trucks into and out of Uganda are a necessity. In International law, several countries have a right to get goods through Uganda, trucks are allowed to get to those other countries via Uganda. In the meantime, the testing of truck drivers from the point of origin is resolving the issue of having positive cases of truck drivers.”
He added that; “The government will now arrange for isolated stop points and then also arrange provisions for food there where the drivers are. The truck drivers will be tested at the point of origin, monitored and controlled.”
Talking about public transport means, the President said Boda-bodas and Tuk-Tuk would resume full operation on June 4th, but are not allowed to carry passengers. On the other hand, taxis, buses and public trains shall also resume operation but at half their usual capacity, while government works on boosting the use of bicycles.
He however noted that Kampala Capital City Authority will demarcate lanes on roads for vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Museveni also said that although Uganda’s economy has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown, the country has registered several achievements.
“We have now acquired capacity to manufacture masks and slow down the rate of infections within the country. Had we not closed down schools, social gatherings, bars, churches and mosques, the rate of infections would have skyrocketed,” the President said, adding that government has also managed to feed Ugandans, fight the floating islands, reduced the level of L. Victoria to avoid over-flooding, among others.
Towards the end of his address, Museveni directed the police to stop closing shops along Nkrumah and Nasser Roads in Kampala and ordered the Uganda Prisons Services to release over 4000 people who were arrested for breaching curfew hours and or not implementing COVID-19 safety measures.