By Simon Abaho
President Yoweri Museveni has announced a phased reopening of the country, starting with the reopening of schools.
The economy has been closed for over two years with a number of activities either totally closed or working on a half capacity basis.
Speaking in a televised address on Friday, Museveni said that when the pandemic set in, the country had to act quickly in a bid to save the population from dying in big numbers.
“The tough measures we took were in order to buy time to find better solution. We didn’t take measures to stay like that. It was a surprise attack by the enemy and had to lie low, buy time and see how to fight better. The initial way was to scatter people so they are not concentrated. We think now we have got some solution like vaccinating of 22million above 18 years of age,” Museveni said.
According to the president, now that there are ways to deal with the virus like vaccination and testing, it is wise for the economy to be reopened for work to resume but following Standard Operating Procedures.
“On account of those factors we now intend to full open the economy in a staggered manner. The transport sector which has been operating at half capacity will be allowed to operate at full capacity as long as both the travelers and the operators are fully vaccinated, except those below 18 years of age but with necessary SOPs like wearing of masks and washing of hands,” Museveni said.
“The pre-primary, primary and secondary schools to be opened to learners starting on January, 10. Sports events and cinema halls will also be allowed to open but with SOPs.”
Museveni however noted that the respective ministries of health, education and transport will work out modalities to ensure full reopening.
According to the president, bars, concerts and discos will also be reopened but noted that this will come two weeks after schools have resumed.
“The bars and concerts will be allowed to operate two weeks after the opening of schools.”
He said that in order to avoid chaos, government will first deal with the opening of schools before the other sectors also open.
President Museveni also announced the lifting of curfew but noted that boda bodas will continue operating up to 7pm as their curfew is still in place.
Museveni however noted that some of these measures will be reversed if coronavirus infections keep increasing
Uganda has confirmed 137270 cases of Coronavirus with 3,291 whereas 3.8 million people have been fully vaccinated against the virus.
The pandemic has greatly battered Uganda’s economy and the full reopening is sigh of relief to the mounting pressure to kick-start the country’s ailing economy after two years of coronavirus restrictions which have devastated key sectors.