Kampala, Uganda – President Yoweri Museveni has said that in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, wearing of face masks outside ones home is now compulsory.
The president made the pronouncement last evening as he extended the COVID-19 lockdown for another 14-days.
“We are going to make it mandatory to cover the face with a cloth mask…because the virus rides on the droplets; it cannot fly by its self. The mask may become a seedbed, of the virus,” Museveni said.
One would probably ask how well a mask, especially a one made from cloth, may protect us from Covid-19. From February, data was emerging that, unlike Sars – where patients were most contagious several days after showing severe symptoms – people infected by Sars-Cov-2, the cause of Covid-19, were “shedding” most viruses (that could infect someone else) just before or at the time symptoms first appeared, often in very mild form thus justifying the need for personal protective gear.
According to president Museveni, Uganda now has capacity to make face masks, sanitizers and other personal protective equipment because of companies like Nytil that have joined the effort.
“38 factories are now making enough quantities of sanitizers, -now the waragi that has been ‘killing’ you is going to be useful. The work waragi has been doing, I don’t support it. I’m very happy that waragi has found good use at last,” Museveni said.
He revealed that cabinet had debated and concluded that it wasn’t yet time to reopen both public and private transport because of the risk it poses.
“We have not yet thought it wise to allow public or private transport. People should use buses, either owned or hired by the employers, cycling to the workplace which is the healthiest and also walking to the factory and walking back,” Museveni said.
He also said that it was still very dangerous to reopen schools especially due to congestion in dormitories and day schools where children walk to and from school.
“We thought about the big groups such as the 15million grandchildren; I don’t want them to go back to these schools yet. I don’t want sick children If you have them going to school, we shall have public transport. Let the children stay at home, I’m more comfortable with them at home than going to school in this situation. Even if they miss a term or year, it’s better than to hear that they have a problem because of being too impatient,” Museveni said.
In a related development, the president allowed a very limited number of businesses to reopen. The businesses so far allowed to open are hardware shops, mechanic workshops and garages, metal and wood workshops, insurance companies, 30 lawyers to handle urgent matters, restaurants [but only allowed to do takeaways] and warehouses.
Uganda currently has 97 confirmed covid-19 cases out of the 39,232 samples so far tested. The total recoveries stand at 58 with no COVID-19 related death in the country.