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President Museveni announces school closure, other measures as COVID cases rise in Uganda

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday declared the closure of schools for 42 days following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Announcing on Sunday evening, President Yoweri Museveni also banned public gatherings, including meetings in places of worship and social events, effective June 7.

Highest single-day rise

“On June 4, the country registered the highest number of cases in a single day; 1,259 cases from 7,424 tests done. This is a 17% positivity rate,” he said. He reported that there had been an upsurge in cases since the end of March, which necessitated the ban.

Furthermore, there were nine more deaths from COVID-19, another high number of fatalities.

Additionally, Museveni also directed that all businesses would close by 7 pm, though pharmacies would be allowed to operate into the night. Furthermore, bars, cinemas, and theatres would also be closed.

Furthermore, Museveni also directed a ban of public transport between districts which would take effect on June 10, on Thursday.

Fears over widespread transmission

The closure of schools come after several schools reported virus cases among their staff and students, prompting the drastic move.

Uganda had reported a concerning rise in cases two weeks ago, which resulted in talk of a lockdown to prevent health facilities from being overwhelmed.

The country’s referral hospital, Mulago, reported a spike in COVID-19 admissions last week. The hospital had asked for an increase in bed capacity.

Surge in cases concerning

Uganda has reported 52,929 COVID-19 cases and 374 deaths, with more than 12,000 of its cases coming from towards the end of March. Before the surge, Uganda had been one of the countries in East Africa that managed the pandemic quite well.

Uganda had previously had only one major wave of COVID-19, and even then, daily cases never crossed 1000. Thus, the current surge is unprecedented.

Uganda is only third behind South Africa and Tunisia in reporting a surge in COVID cases. Recently, WHO Africa expressed concern over surging infections in the continent.

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