By Mariam Namakula
The National Planning Authority (NPA) has warned of another lockdown due the increased projection in the number of COVID-19 new cases expected by mid-July.
While addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Center on Wednesday, NPA Executive Director, Dr Joseph Muvawala, said if the trend and the COVID-19 curve continued to rise, then Uganda risked having new infections reaching the peak, a situation that might necessitate a continued lockdown.
Dr Muvawala said while the measures to reduce the spread of the novel virus had not been effective in the partial lockdown, the total lockdown measures had proved necessary.
“Despite the current lockdown measures, the new model projections indicated that there would be a continuous rise in the new cases,” he said.
He said although the cases were estimated to be slightly lower than the previous week that was averaging 1,037 new cases per day, the model predicts that there would be a slight increase between 4-10 July ranging from 7,214 cases resulting to an average of 1,030 cases per day.
“If we look at the last time the peak was at a low rate but this time the peak has gone up, meaning that if a third round were to occur, it would be worse than it had been,” he said.
Dr Muvawala said the country needs to prepare and ensure that Uganda does not reach a point of having 2,000 cases per day
The model, however, had suggested that Uganda would reach its peak by June 27 until July 3, thus recording a downward direction averaging 1,037 infections at the end of June from the 1,073 that were in three weeks.
In March 2020, NPA developed a model that makes predictions of COVID-19 infections cases for every two weeks and has since been proven to have 97 per cent accuracy. This was mainly to help the government develop a model that could help project, detect numbers and also do the required policies.
Dr Muvawala said despite the hardships faced in the lockdown, knowing that the factors causing the surge in cases were internal and could be worked upon, then their strategy was worthwhile.
Dr Muvawala also noted that this was the first model of this kind in Africa and therefore available to any African country.
He, however, acknowledged that though the model was good in projecting COVID-19, the lack of foresightedness by the planning authority to withstand the effects on the economy were unjustifiable and therefore Uganda was paying the price.
Dr Muvawala said as planners, they needed to anticipate the impacts of COVID-19 towards the economy, adding that the country would not be in a mess now a year later.
“We have raised our concern to the committee and hope the issue of including at least a member is considered,” he said.