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Museveni locks down Kampala amid Covid-19 surge

Kenyans who frequently travel to Kampala for business by road now have to suspend their plans after Uganda President Yoweri Museveni re-imposed a strict lockdown that includes the suspension of inter-district travel.

The move is aimed at taming the latest surge of Covid-19 cases in the country.

Thousands of Kenyans travel to Uganda by road each day to purchase various products including cereals, food, and clothes.

In a televised address to the nation Sunday, Museveni said most of the new restrictions, will be assessed and their impact will then help the government decide whether to ease or prolong them.

Uganda implemented one of Africa’s tightest lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic more than a year ago, but it was gradually lifted as cases slowed to a trickle.

Public transport between districts will be banned starting from Thursday to allow students who are in schools to return home while bars, cinemas, and theatres will be closed from Monday.

President Museveni has also shut down schools and suspended public gatherings for 42 days.

Dozens of schools had reported virus cases among staff and students prompting the closure.

The government, he said, was worried the jump in cases would “exhaust the available bed space and oxygen supply in hospitals unless we constitute urgent public health measures”.

“In this wave, the intensity of severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients and death is higher than what we experienced in the first wave of the pandemic,” he said.

Last month however infections started to spike and new cases, particularly among younger people, have surged, fuelling fears that the country could slip into an out-of-control second wave.

The announcement came hours after the health ministry announced 1,259 new coronavirus cases – the highest number of infections recorded in a single day – and nine deaths on Sunday.

A rise in coronavirus cases was reported two weeks ago and officials mulled over a lockdown to prevent health facilities from being overwhelmed.

The national referral hospital Mulago reported a spike in Covid-19 patients last week, saying it needed to increase bed capacity.

Uganda has 52,929 cases of coronavirus and 374 deaths so far.