President Yoweri Museveni has announced that some national lockdown measures implemented due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will be eased from Wednesday, July 22, as the government seeks to minimize economic disruption. Some non-essential businesses such as hair salons, and shopping arcades are to be allowed to reopen with immediate effect, although those where health and hygiene measures have been assessed as inadequate by investigators will remain closed until they can be brought up to standard. Motorcycle taxis, known locally as boda bodas, will be able to carry passengers from Monday, July 27, having been restricted to ferrying goods since March, although an 18:00 (local time) restriction on their operations will remain in place.
Museveni also announced that the nationwide curfew will be shortened from Wednesday to 21:00 - 05:30, allowing those in the country to remain outside of their residences for an additional two hours in the evenings.
However, other COVID-19 restrictions, including the suspension of international travel and a ban on public gatherings of more than five people, remain in effect. Places of worship, sports facilities, and entertainment venues also remain closed, while Museveni confirmed that flights from Entebbe International Airport (EBB) will remain suspended until further notice amid the ban on international commercial air travel.
As of July 22, authorities have confirmed 1072 cases of COVID-19 in Uganda with no associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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