Members of the National Covid Taskforce and the Scientific Advisory Committee have advised President Museveni to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in the country.
Members of the taskforce led by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja met the President yesterday at State House ahead of today’s presidential address.
The meeting, according to sources looked at the current Covid-19 curve, daily infections, recovery trends, death toll and positivity before they discussed the pros and cons of lifting the lockdown. One of the members of the taskforce, who requested not to be quoted since the meeting was not public, told Daily Monitor last evening that they had asked the President to go slow on full reopening of the economy and warned him about the possibility of a dangerous third wave.
According to other sources, the recommendation is to open up the economy, but the degree of opening is what will vary. They called for “a partial opening” of some sectors they refused to disclose and noted that continued complete lockdown is unsustainable.
Another member of the committee, however, told Daily Monitor that some sectors will be reopened but with stringent conditions.
The source explained that such sectors will be given two weeks to adhere to the standard operating procedures and any failure to do so, they will be closed.
Even though the members of the taskforce and the scientific advisory committee advised the President on what needs to be done, the final decision on whether to lift the lockdown or extend it, rests on him.
The scientists also noted that lockdowns are not sustainable and asked the President ensure that the targeted population is vaccinated. The government has so far vaccinated about 5 per cent of 21.9 million people. The slow progress is attributed to the global scarcity of Covid-19 vaccines.
Uganda was thrown into a second lockdown on June 18 when the second wave of the pandemic hit the country. The Covid-19 variants worsened the situation with hospital admissions, community infections, number of home-based patients and death toll reaching unpreceded levels.
To break the chain of transmission and buy time to get in more vaccines and expand capacity of hospitals, government imposed a countrywide lockdown in addition to already existing inter-district travel ban.
Whereas government rolled out cash relief to more than 500,000 people, some beneficiaries [34,000] missed out on account of registration glitches and other inconsistences.
Most of the vulnerable people or the hand-to-mouth groups were not considered and Opposition appeals to increase the number of beneficiaries were ignored.
Most of the people, who talked to Daily Monitor yesterday, especially the boda boda cyclists and taxi drivers, requested the President to lift the lockdown, pledging to adhere to the SOPs.
“From what we have heard, it seems like public transport won’t be lifted. We had tried to observe SOPs, we still can. We never received that Nabbanja money (Covid relief cash). What do you think we are feeding our families on?” Mr Fred Mukasa, a taxi driver, said.
– Cumulative Cases: 93,282
– Cumulative death toll: 2,632
– Cumulative recoveries: 8,1014
– Vaccinated: 1, 135, 916
– Positivity rate: 6 per cent
– Sick people in hospitals: 620
– Home-based care: (unidentified)