President Yoweri Museveni has said Uganda is likely to lose $1.6 billion in expected revenue from tourism as a result of COVID-19 and most of the annual $1.3bn expected in remittances from the diaspora.

He also said that the “lock-down cannot and should not continue indefinitely. It affects sections of the economy and other social activities. It has helped us keep infections low and to prepare better.”

He said this Monday in his 15th address on the coronavirus. He is also expected to outline the Standard Operating Procedures that will be used to re-open public transport despite the country’s COVID-19 statistics heading towards 500.

Taxis in city

KCCA has started rebuilding the main taxi park, which means a completely new system will be put in place for taxis to operate.

Meanwhile, a record 84 cases were confirmed on May 30, as Uganda’s total Coronavirus tally shot to 417 – this minus the over 158 foreign truck drivers who are no longer put on the national statistics.

Today’s address comes a day after Uganda’s health workers for the first time got onto the list of positive cases.

Seven frontline health workers have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The infected workers include three nurses, two doctors and two senior-level staff.

Kazibwe on Uganda readiness

Last week, former Vice-President Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe said Uganda has contained the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and is well placed to ease the lock-down.

She said that ‘technically’ the curve is flat as the majority of those who have tested positive are imported cases into the country, and not from the community.

“The infection as we see it now, going to over 200 cases, is not an actual infection originating in Uganda. Which means they do not reflect the degree of risk within the population, but they reflect a degree of risk to being infected,” said Dr Kazibwe.

She was speaking on Morning Breeze on NBS TV as a Senior Special Presidential advisor global health and population, attached to the Ministry of Health.

“The phased easing of the lock-down is already happening. What you must do is make sure your health system is ready to treat the infected cases. The Ugandan system is ready, ” she said confidently. She says the Ministry of Health has also given Ugandans enough information to act on.

Kazibwe said most of the Ugandan cases are positive, but they are ‘not sick’. They are mild cases, she says, that need to be quarantined, not admitted into a hospital. Uganda’s hospital bed capacity can cope, she reassured.

“Being infected does not mean you are sick. Our cases have mild symptoms and do not even need admission. We have bed capacity for those who are moderate to severe and need to be admitted. Truck drivers are driving, do they need to be admitted – they are doing their work already,” she said.  “They need to be quarantined, not admitted.”

Summary of Measures from President Museveni’s 14th Address on the COVID-19 Pandemic 

✳ 1. Shops selling general merchandize will open provided they are not in the shopping malls, shopping arcades and food markets.
✳ 2. The heroic market women that have slept in the workplaces for all these days, will be allowed to go home and come back to work daily if they want to.
✳ 3. Public transport will resume but with strict regulations. Mini-buses, buses, taxis, tuku-tukus can operate provided they carry only a half of their normal capacity. Public transport won’t operate in border districts for another 21 days.
✳ 4. Boda bodas won’t carry passengers yet. They should continue to carry cargo as they have been doing during the time of the lock-down.
✳ 5. Bars, night-clubs, gyms, saunas, swimming pools and hair-salons, will stay closed for another 21 days since they cannot easily observe the rules of social distancing.
✳ 6. The International borders of Uganda and the airport will remain closed so that we do not import additional cases from outside.
✳ 7. Education institutions can open but only for finalists/candidate classes. There will be no first-term examinations. Social distancing is a must. Other learners will wait for now.
✳ 8. Curfew from 1900hours  until 0630 hours, remains in place for another 21 days.
✳ 9. Food restaurants can open as long as the clients observe social-distancing and there is no air-conditioning which spreads the virus.
✳ 10. People with private cars will be allowed to drive as long as the car does not carry more than 3 people, including the driver.
✳ 11. All the other restrictions will remain in place for 21 days.