A woman wearing mask walks past closed shops in Kampala, Uganda, March 26, 2020. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday announced a 14-day suspension of public transport as one of the measures aimed at stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the east African country. (Xinhua/Nicholas Kajoba)
KAMPALA, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday announced a 14-day suspension of public transport as one of the measures aimed at stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the east African country.
Museveni in a televised address said all commuter taxis, buses, passenger trains and motorcycles commonly known as boda bodas are not allowed to move.
He said private vehicles are allowed to move provided they do not carry more than three people including the driver.
"Therefore even a private vehicle packed with family members is not allowed. That is why all those family functions should be postponed. Let us first get out of this danger," said Museveni.
He said cargo vehicles, ambulances and those of security services are allowed to move.
Museveni also banned crowding in markets, noting that markets should only be allowed to sell food.
"For now, we wouldn't like to close the markets but to carry out some changes. The markets should only be for selling food stuff. Therefore trading in markets for non-food stuff like clothes, mobile phones, and necklaces is from now onwards suspended. This will reduce numbers for social distancing," said Museveni.
The president also said government offices should work out a plan where essential staff can remain working. He said this can be on rotation basis.
He said there are several hubs across the country where samples can be taken before they are transported to the main laboratory, Uganda Virus Institute in Entebbe, 40 km south of the capital Kampala. He directed that districts in remote areas must be able to provide vehicles to the surveillance teams that will be collecting samples.
He said all the measures have been taken to reduce crowding of people as one of the critical measures in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
The president said the country currently has 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Five cases were confirmed on Wednesday, including two Chinese nationals.
He said out of the initial nine patients, eight are recovering and are in a stable condition.
Uganda already instituted a series of stringent measures aimed at containing the spread of the disease including the closure of its borders to incoming or outgoing international travelers.
The country has banned all public gatherings and closed schools, centers of worship.
Security agencies have also started arresting people who do not follow the guidelines set by the ministry of health.