President Yoweri Museveni has said his decision lift many lockdown measures was based on the advice and modelling by the Uganda Planning Authority (NPA).
In his address to the nation Friday night, he said NPA predicted that if the country fully opens up, there will be 500 new cases per day averaging 2,000 cases per week and this would take the country to the third wave.
The second option was maintaining the lockdown which would see only 30 new cases averaging 246 new cases every week. However, this option would be devastating economically not only for Ugandans but also the economy at large.
The last option which the President adopted would be the partial reopening which would see an increase to 301 new cases per day which would eventually fall to 66 new cases per day by the 28th day. In the new measures, curfew time has been maintained at 7 pm to 5:30 a.m., except for security personnel and those authorized to move at night.
“The rest should be in their homes to avoid breaching of guidelines and thuggery under the cover of darkness. There would be too much socialization in the night and that is where the trouble will be,” Museveni said.
However, places of worship will remain closed until after 60 days when the decision will be reviewed. And for virtual religious services that have been allowed, they have been restricted to only 10 people while outdoor sports activities are allowed without spectators and under strict SOPs. However indoor sports activities including gyms and pool table remains closed.
Also to remain closed are gaming, betting, cinema, casinos, concerts, bars, saunas, and steam baths. Also banned are seasonal markets, mobile markets, conferences, workshops and seminars unless with permission from the ministry of health. This decision will be reviewed after 42 days.
Schools are also to also remain closed until learners between the age of 12 and 18 have been fully vaccinated. However, the president said the Ministry of Health working with that of education should work out modalities to see medical schools opening. For the public and formal sectors, staff levels have been revised from 10 to 20 per cent.
“If these measures are adopted we can avoid the third wave and maybe we shall have already vaccinated our people or got a drug,” Museveni said.
He also announced that government will avail a Shs100Bn facility to support medium and small scale industries.
Some experts have said President Museveni listened to a section of his advisers who frequently asked him to let people work and fend for themselves since government had considered the vulnerable few, ignoring the rest of Ugandans who were also struggling after their businesses had been hit to their knees by the effects of Covid-19 which continues to wreak havoc across the globe.
Experts say Museveni feared frustrated masses would take to the streets to protest, asking government to come to their rescue. Museveni’s enemies, who are in fact numerous, would use such a chance to force men and women in power from their huge seats. The president had to relax the lockdown measures he instituted more than 42 days ago, therefore.