Uganda Goes into Total Lockdown as Museveni Announces Curfew

President Yoweri Museveni has announced a total ban on the movement of vehicles across the country. He said that effective March 31, 2020, the country will be under curfew starting 7 p.m. every day, for the next 14 days.

He says that although the initial measures had limited the ban to public transport, a number of private vehicle owners abused the option and continued transporting people across the country. According to Museveni, the option was self-defeating and therefore a precursor for the spread of Coronavirus Disease COVID-19.

“After much consideration, we have decided to prohibit all people-to-people movement including those using private means. This is because some car owners have turned their cars into taxis. The ban on private transport takes effect at 10:00pm today [Monday].  I would have given public time to adjust but scientifically this would cause more trouble as people would try to go to villages and instead transport the disease,” Museveni said.

He also announced the suspension of operations for shopping malls, arcades and non-food stores across the country.

However, the supermarkets will remain open but with clear standard operating procedures that limit the number of people in the area at a given time.

Established food markets in Kampala and other towns will continue operating provided they observe a distance of four meters from each individual. These will however have to close at sunset, the time for enforcing an overnight curfew.

“Gatherings of more than five persons are hereby prohibited. We have introduced a curfew from 7:00pm to 5:00am and we expect all of you to stay indoors, except for cargo transporters,”Museveni said.

The new directives also require factories and construction sites to suspend their operations if they cannot accommodate workers on site for the next two weeks. Museveni also banned the operations of salons and lodges across the country.

The government also came up with a list of workers classified as “essential service providers” that will be allowed to continue working. Among these are, health workers, veterinary services, banks, cleaning services, garbage collectors, fire fighters, door-to-door delivery services, petrol stations, KCCA and Uganda Revenue Authority.

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The Uganda Radio Network is an independent Ugandan subscription-based news agency headquartered in Kampala.

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