President Museveni yesterday announced some measures to relax the tight lock-down restrictions that were introduced to prevent the rapid spread of the Corona-virus.
The President allowed hardware shops, wholesellers, insurers, a few lawyers and mechanics to open businesses while also maintaining social distancing safeguards.
But the measures have been described by some observers as coming by ‘drip’ or too weak to cause meaningful change in economic sentiments and activity given the fact that public and private transport means remain locked.
But the president perhaps anticipated the criticism when he said the government would pursue a gradual easing of the lock-down restrictions to allow experts time to monitor the trend of infections, and to also protect the health system from getting overwhelmed by so many cases at the same time.
“The first patient to recover on treatment, took 16 days of concentrated attention by our medical workers at Entebbe Hospital. Imagine we had some 10,000 cases, Museveni quipped?”
Museveni also observed however that having some positive cases is not particularly bad as this, as he argued, would help build immunity in the population.
Besides the slight easing of lock-down measures, the president urged Ugandans to wear their resistance coats and soldier on, until the government is able to manage the disease, as efforts to find long term solution in form of a vaccine, continue locally and internationally.
The President said he wouldn’t mind his grandchildren skipping a term as long as they remain protected against the disease.
He praised Ugandans for the fighting spirit:
He said: “We have somehow tamed the virus although we cannot say that we have eliminated it. I, therefore, congratulate the Ugandans for doing what I knew that they could do. The Ugandans can undertake any effort, they can make any sacrifice, to defend themselves in any and all legitimate causes.”
With 97 positive cases of COVID-19, 55 recoveries and no deaths, Museveni said Uganda had achieved tremendous success in the fight against the pandemic.
“On account of what you have done, we have avoided images we have seen in other countries of coffins and coffins.
“With these five, even as we wait for the vaccine and more potent treatment drugs, it is high time we remember what the Banyankore say. They say: “Tihariho owayangire kugwejegyera, ngu ataroota”, ─ “you cannot refuse to sleep for the fear of dreaming a bad dream” ─ because sleeping is vital for continued living.”
“We must, therefore, basing ourselves on the limited preparation we have done, start slowly and carefully to open up but without undoing our achievements,” said Museveni.