Uganda loosens anti-coronavirus restrictions as pandemic ebbs

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday eased anti-coronavirus restrictions, including allowing resumption of education for universities and other post-secondary institutions, citing a decline in infections in the country.

FILE PHOTO: Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni attends a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Russia–Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia October 23, 2019. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Kremlin via REUTERS

The east African country started experiencing a second wave of the pandemic around May, shortly after authorities announced detection of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

In response Museveni put the country of 45 million under a sweeping lockdown that included shuttering of nearly all businesses, closure of schools and halting of traffic.

Some of the restrictions were lifted at the end of July after cases started to drop.

In a televised speech late on Wednesday, Museveni said the outbreak had continued to ebb since.

“The COVID-19 transmission rates in the country have

continued to decline. ..the daily average number of confirmed cases over the last one month has declined and stabilised,” he said.

He said all universities and other post secondary education institutions should now re-open on Nov. 1 and also allowed churches and a range of other sport and social activities such as weddings and funerals to resume.

Bar closures and a range of other restrictions such as a night curfew would be maintained though, to help prevent a third wave of the pandemic, he said.

As of Wednesday, Uganda had registered 122,502 confirmed cases and 3,135 deaths.

A total of 12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to have been brought into the country by the end of the year, most of them donations, Museveni said.

He said the government aimed to vaccinate around 4.8 million people by the end of the year, which he said would permit the lifting of nearly all other remaining restrictions, including allowing primary and secondary schools to also re-open.

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