More restrictions will be reinforced in Uganda to curb the spread of a second wave of Covid-19 amid a sharp rise in cases, President Yoweri Museveni confirmed in a televised address Sunday night.
All schools and institutions of higher learning will be closed for 42 days starting Monday morning, the president said, adding that all teachers will be required to be vaccinated before returning to the classroom. “There is an increasing number of clusters of infections in schools,” Museveni said.
Inter-district travel will also be banned for 42 days starting June 10th,to minimize the movement of people and the spread of the virus from district-to-district.
Additionally, communal gathering in places of worship will be suspended for 42 days, but social gatherings will be limited to a maximum capacity of 20 people.
On June 4th, Uganda registered its highest single day record with 1259 confirmed cases, at a positivity rate of 17%. But only 8% of the cases from the last 14 days were admitted into hospitals.
“In this wave, the intensity of severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients and deaths is higher than what we experienced in the first wave,” Museveni said. “In the previous wave it took us 3-4 months to get to the current state of critical and severe patients. While in the second wave, it has taken us less than two weeks to get to the same situation.”
As the second wave grips Uganda, the country continues to struggle with vaccine shortages having only vaccinated less than 2% of the population. President Museveni announced he would try to procure China’s Sinovac vaccine, Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine and Johnson & Johnson doses for Uganda, but offered no further details.
Museveni stressed that reinforcing restrictions was critical to prevent exhausting hospital capacities. But, he threatened that if the restrictions were not followed and the situation worsened, he would put the country back on a total lockdown.
Uganda took stringent steps to try to halt the spread of the virus early on in the pandemic last year. It was one of the first African countries to impose travel restrictions on its citizens and others traveling from 16 countries it said had a high number of cases of coronavirus, including the US and UK.
It was also among the first African country to announce a ban on large public gatherings including weddings, church and Jumat services for a period of 30 days. On March 18, schools were closed and public rallies banned.