By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: President Yoweri Museveni in his presidential address on COVID-19 today September 20, 2002, he has cleared the airport to open for only tourists after testing COVID-19 negative and present the certificates to airport authorities before allowed to enter Uganda and also Ugandans with COVID-19 certificates to leave home quarantine centres and go home where the ministry of health will keep following them.
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President however, maintained curfew from 9 pm to 5 am and also ordered Boda-boda operations to stop at 6 pm.
He had also okayed churches to open under Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), including having not less than 70 members, no night prayers, no regular large gatherings, no Sunday schools for children all meant to curb crowding which is considered to be a threat in COVID-19 transmission.
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President also gave a yes to open-air activities for sports however should not have physical spectators since they can also be a threat and cautioned indoor games including gyms to stay closed since they are closed they can easily spread the virus.
Meanwhile, bars will stay closed after Museveni noting that drunkards can’t control themselves against the spread of the virus and encouraged them to drink from their homes while maintaining social distancing from their visitors who he termed COVID-19 strangers.
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In the same vein, Museveni maintained restrictions on restaurants and encouraged them to continue serving takeaways as to avoid large crowds and for hotels, he reminded them to keep operating but observing SOPs issued to them by Ministry of Health in a bid to curb the virus.
Read full address in summary
“1. Schools will re-open on October 15th for the candidate classes of P-7, S-4, S-6, finalists in tertiary colleges and finalists in universities.
2.The International Airport and land borders will now be opened for tourists, coming in and going out, provided they tested negative 72 hours before arrival in Uganda and provided the tour operators ensure that the tourists do not mix with the Ugandans. Returning Ugandans, who have negative PCR results, will be allowed to go home. The Ministry of Health will only get their addresses for follow up.
3. Restrictions on movements on border districts are hereby lifted.
4. Curfew, from 9 pm to 6 am, will be maintained; but for the Boda Bodas, their movements must always end at 6 pm.
5. Places of worship, should open with the following guidelines:
a). Individual prayers or confessions with priests or counselling with the necessary SOPs.
b). Prayers and fellowships whose numbers do not exceed 70 and by observing all the other SOPs.
(c) Night prayers and transmits are not allowed.
D). The regular large gatherings of prayers and preachings of Sundays and Fridays will be considered at a later stage but the rule of the number of 70 and not more can be used on the Fridays and Sundays.
6. Open-air activities of sports will re-open provided there are no spectators and the players are tested for Covid-19, 72 hours before. This test will expire in 14 days. Hence, the Sportsmen will have to repeat the test every fortnight.
Still on re-opening sports;
-With tournaments, teams should be quarantined for the whole season of the competition.
– Indoor sports activities, including gyms, remain closed. Casinos, gaming centres and cinemas remain closed.
8. Bars shall remain closed.
9. Hotels will continue operating following the SOPs agreed with the Ministry of Health.
10. Restaurants should continue to emphasize takeaways. Indoor restaurant services should be minimized and follow the SOPs.
11. Mobile Markets, monthly cattle auction and produce markets, should remain closed as the Ministry of Health continues to develop SOPs.
12. Mass gatherings are still prohibited.
13. Our Bamasaaba grandchildren engaged in Imbalu have SOPs from the Ministry of Health that was agreed with the Cultural Institution. There should be no processions dancing Kadodi – that is dangerous congregating.”