BY OUR REPORTER
In his 16th Covid -19 address to the nation , President Yoweri Museveni has opened more border districts but with continued vigilance to stem the spread of the deadly pandemic . The President also supported the new Electoral Commission roadmap tailored at scientific campaigns and promised to give the most hard hit businesses -saloons and private schools- soft loans once there are allowed to operate again.
Border Districts Opened
The districts which have been opened are , Amudat, Bududa, Bukwo, Bundibugyo, Buvuma, Hoima, Isingiro, Kaabong, Kabale, Kalangala, Kanungu, Kasese, Kikuube, Kisoro, Kitgum, Koboko and Kween. Others are Lamwo, Maracha, Mayuge, Moroto, Namayingo, Namisindwa, Ntoroko, Ntungamo, Pakwach, Rubanda, Rubirizi, Rukiga, Rukungiri, Sironko, and Yumbe.
Border districts which remain closed
The districts which remain under total lockdown- 95 days since the nation-wide measures were instituted include, Rakai, Kyotera, Amuru, Buikwe, Gulu, Arua, Adjumani, Moyo, and Nebbi (clusters of infections under investigation) . The others are Zombo, Adjumani and Arua (districts with refugees, need more testing); Busia and Bulisa (districts with major border/water points).
Museveni said there will also be relaxation on the number of passengers in private cars from 3 to 4 inlcuding the driver provided they are all putting on masks. However , most of the other existing measures including the nationwide curfew from 7pm-6.30 am shall remain in place because it is both a security and health intervention.
For Boda bodas irrespective of their craftmanship by creating barriers between rider and passenger government is still considering them a a high risk carrier and will not be allowed passengers. Places of worship will also remain losed. The president argued that they would pose a difficulty in contact tracing and are a high risk contamination area.
in the same measure ,arcades will stay closed but relevant ministries and agencies have been tasked to work with arcade owners to pilot prevention procedures to inform future relaxation.
Although ,there has been wide spread calls to allow the salons to be reopened due to the bg number of youth employed there, government noted that activities in salons involve close contact among people and contact tracing would be difficult.
Education institutions will stay closed but government will launch a big long-distance education programme through radios with each homestead expected to get free radio set.
Soft loans for small business most hard hit
Museveni directed that Ministries of Education and Gender should register people affected by the lockdown including salon operators, private universities, private secondary schools, private primary schools to be facilitated with soft loans / cheap capital when their activities resume or even help them to do other activities.
President commends frontline health works
President Museveni also used the occasion to express his gratitude to Uganda’s frontline health works whom he described as “very committed and skilled” professionals after 631 out of 774 Ugandans who were infected with the coronavirus have been successful treated and discharged from hospital.