On the 18th of March 2020, the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni issued his first national address on the COVID-19 pandemic which has devastated the entire globe in which he closed education institutions, shops, arcades, places of worship, bars and restaurants, among other facets of the socio-economy.
In the three months that have followed, there have been sixteen different presidential addresses, some of which have included the easing of some restrictions, such as the total ban on public transportation for the likes of commuter taxis and buses.
However, majority of the restrictions that were put in place at the beginning of the lockdown, such as a ban on boda bodas from carrying passengers, as well as the closing of schools and places of worship, and recreation still remain.
Despite the fact that the Ministry of Health has handled the response to the pandemic in a manner that can only be described as laudable, as of 26th June 2020, Uganda has recorded 833 positive cases of COVID-19, but has managed to achieve at least 631 cases, with no deaths.
Uganda has also managed to identify coronavirus hotspots, that is areas where transmission is high, which are in border communities that receive truck drivers from neighbouring countries.
Governments need to reduce on the lockdown/quarantine restrictions or many more stand a chance of going hungry and closing business soon
The crux of the matter here is that since geographic hotspots have been identified, it would make more sense for the government to remove restrictions in areas that have zero transmission so that the economy can be jump-started in time to prevent a disastrous crisis that would undermine and overwrite any efforts to protect Ugandans from the hazard of the health crisis itself.
More attention should be placed on border communities in that resources such as food and security should be diverted to Amuru, Tororo and Mutukula so that the virus can be conquered before making an onslaught on the rest of the country.
Economically vulnerable groups such as boda boda riders should be allowed to return to work, on condition that they follow Standard Operating Procedures as they are often their families’ breadwinners, and keeping them unemployed will not only drive them deeper into poverty but also encourage them to resort to crime.
Places of recreation, as well as places of worship, should also be opened but pursuant to their strict observance of the oft-mentioned SOPs of social distancing, wearing of masks, as well as constant washing of hands with soap or alcohol-based sanitizers.
The idea behind this is that it would be insensible of the state to condemn citizens to untold economic distress all in the name of protecting their health. Because, after all, a life of strife isn’t really life at all.
Also read: How to Stay In Shape During Lockdown
Author: Timothy Ainebyoona
Timothy is a dynamic analyst passionate about news and all things sport.