COVID-19 Cases Reach 97 as Museveni Orders Wearing of Face Masks

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has jumped to 97 after eight people tested positive on Monday, the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has announced.

The eight new cases were part of the 2,061 cases that were tested on Monday. Six of the new cases are of truck drivers while two are from the community. 

“Total COVID-19 cases now stand at 97 in Uganda. Five truck drivers arrived via Malaba border post [from Kenya] while one arrived via Mutukula [Tanzania],” Dr. Aceng announced.

She said that the two community cases include a resident of Kyotera district while the other is a Ugandan truck driver from Mutukula in Kyotera district. 

“Both community cases were confirmed through the rapid risk assessment ongoing countrywide,” Aceng said.

The developments came within two hours after President Yoweri Museveni in a televised address eased some restrictions that he announced in March to stall the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Museveni extended the lockdown by another two weeks but allowed some businesses to re-open. 

 The businesses so far allowed to open are hardware shops, mechanic workshops and garages, metal and wood workshops, warehouses, insurance companies, 30 lawyers to handle urgent matters and restaurants which he restricted to only offering takeaway services.

He maintained the ban on both private and public transport.

 “We have not yet thought it wise to allow public or private transport. People should use buses, either owned or hired by the employers, cycling to the workplace which is the healthiest and also walking to the factory and walking back,” Museveni said. 

 He also added that it was still very dangerous to reopen schools especially due to congestions in dormitories and day schools where children walk to and from school. 

 “We thought about the big groups such as the 15 million [learners]; I don’t want them to go back to these schools yet. I don’t want sick children If you have them going to school, we shall have public transport. Let the children stay at home, I’m more comfortable with them than going to school in this situation. Even if they miss a term or year, it’s better than to hear that they have a problem because of being too impatient,” Museveni said. 

 Museveni also ordered a mandatory wearing of face masks for whoever leaves home to go to public places.  

 “We are going to make it mandatory to cover the face with a cloth mask…because the virus rides on the droplets; it cannot fly by its self. The mask may become a seedbed, of the virus,” Museveni said. 

 He added that Uganda now has the capacity to make sanitizers, personal protective equipment and face masks because of companies like Nytil that have joined the effort. 

 “38 factories are now making enough quantities of sanitizers, now the waragi that has been killing you is going to be useful,” Museveni said.  

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