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Gov’t Disappointed after Some Contracted Companies Produced Poor Quality Face Masks, Rules Out Another Lockdown

The Government has expressed disappointment in some companies contracted to produce face masks after they put out substandard masks.

In an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, all Ugandans above the age of 6 are required to put on a mask while in public.

To rule out the possibility of inability to afford one, the government embarked on the process of providing a face mask to every Ugandan above the age of 6 and contracted various suppliers to do the job.

The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Judith Nabakooba, on Sunday said that 13 million masks have been given out but expressed disappointment that some contracted companies produced substandard masks.

“The Government is getting feedback that some of the masks being produced by some of the companies contracted are of poor quality and do not meet the standards issued by the Ministry of Health. This is a big disappointment on the side of suppliers entrusted with the responsibility of producing quality face masks meant to save lives of Ugandans,” said Nabakooba.

“Government is going to follow up with the respective suppliers and those found guilty of producing substandard masks are at risk of having their contracts cancelled. I want to assure the public that Government is committed to ensure that all Ugandans have access to free and good quality masks,” she added.

The areas that have not received masks, Nabakooba called on them to remain calm adding that the efforts are underway to have them delivered to their respective Local Governments.

Another Lockdown

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Nabakooba ruled out the possibility of government reimposing a lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 even when cases are surging.

“The situation with arcades and markets continues to be bad. The list of arcades and markets failing to observe the guidelines continues to grow every day. I therefore continue to advise everyone, please stay away from city center if what is taking you there is not important,” said Nabakooba.

“As government, it is not our interest to announce another lockdown because people’s livelihoods are adversely affected. However, under the current circumstances, it is obvious that people will only comply after another lockdown has been put in place,” she added.

The Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi recently announced that 58 arcades that were not observing COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures would be closed.

In the same vein, Minister of Works and Transport Gen Katumba Wamala recently sent out a warning to public transport operators that government may consider reimposing a lockdown if they continue disobeying Standard Operating Procedures put in place by the Ministry of Health to combat the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Nabakooba said the fate of public transport operators not observing COVID-19 SOPs is in their hands.

“If you must use public transport, ensure you have your mask on all the time, remember to sanitize when boarding and when disembarking,” Nabakooba said.

As of Sunday August 23, 2020, Uganda has a total of 2,268 COVID-19 confirmed cases, 1,226 recoveries and 20 fatalities.

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