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Minister Katumba: ‘We May Be Forced To Halt Public Transport’ over COVID-19

Uganda is considering imposing fresh restrictions on public transport to prevent further spread of Coronavirus after a spike in infections, a high ranking government official said Monday.

“Fellow Ugandans, it has come to my attention that some taxi operators and motorists are not obeying the COVID19 guidelines in place,” said Works and Transport Minister, Gen Katumba Wamala.

“With the increasing cases of community transmission, we may be forced to halt public transport,” he emphasised.

Taxi drivers have been loading more than seven passengers that were allowed by the government.

President Museveni lifted restrictions on the movement of public vehicles provided that they carry only half of their normal capacity.

Taxi operators were to ensure passengers wash hands, wear masks and practice social distancing which is not the case.

Security forces appear to have been overwhelmed by the task of enforcing these presidential guidelines.

Results from COVID-19 tests done on 15 August 2020 confirmed 66 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total confirmed cases of Ugandans to 1,500.

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Of these cases, 30 were from Kampala and seven from Wakiso.

Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng recently said the country was witnessing phase 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic – with clusters of community transmissions and death specifically in Kampala Metropolitan Area.

Between July 31 to August 12, the mortalities more than doubled.

Aceng warned that “the disease kills everyone irrespective of their age. The youngest COVID-19 related mortality was 27 years old while the oldest was 80 years old.”

She added: “It is possible that with the phased lifting of the lockdown, the virus may have been imported into Kampala and it appears to have spread among communities in Kampala.”

Aceng said this, in essence signals tougher times ahead and thus a much deeper need for compliance to the presidential directives, the Ministry of Health Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and the statutory instruments in place for the public health threat.

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