On Monday, March 31, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced a 14-day nationwide lockdown from Wednesday, April 1, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Under the latest measures, the movement of people by private vehicles will be prohibited from 22:00 (local time) on Monday, March 30. In addition, a curfew from 19:00 to 06:30 will be put in place from Tuesday, March 31. All members of the public, except for individuals transporting cargo, have been instructed to stay indoors. Gatherings of more than five people will be banned as a precautionary measure. Shopping malls, arcades, hardware shops and all non-food stores, except for supermarkets and pharmacies, will also be suspended for 14 days from April 1. Meanwhile, a ban on all public transport remains in place as of Wednesday, March 25.
Uganda's borders have been closed since Saturday, March 21, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities have closed all land, water, and air points of entry until further notice, while only cargo and humanitarian flights will be allowed to land in the country.
To date, there are at least 44 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Uganda. Further international spread of the virus is expected in 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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
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 non-essential 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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