NATIONAL EXCLUSIVE! Museveni approves proposal on phased lifting of lockdown over Covid-19

President Museveni has agreed to gradually ease the current lockdown over coronavirus which will will the country return to work, PML Daily has learnt.

During the Monday Cabinet meeting, a sub-committee tabled it’s report, recommending a phased lifting of the current lockdown.

The current 21-day extension of the lockdown ends on May 5 and according to a report seen by this website, the Cabinet sub-committee chaired by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda recommended that since the country has seemingly contained the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, with the remaining few cases reported among Tanzanian and Kenyan taxi drivers, the country can gradually return to normalcy.

A source that attended the Monday Cabinet meeting intimated to this website that the President gave the sub-committee up to May 2 to draw up the plan for the implementation of the phased lifting of the current lockdown after which he will address the country on the way forward.

The Cabinet sub-committee is comprised of, among others, Ministers David Bahati (State, Planning), Chris Baryomunsi (Housing), Evelyn Anite (Investment), Amelia Kyambadde Trade and industry), Jane Ruth Aceng/Moriku Kaducu (health) and Diana Atwine ( health).

According to sub-committee, public transport, which includes boda boda, commuter taxis and buses can return to work next week but under strict working conditions. For the commuter taxis and buses, the sub-committee recommends strict social distancing, with a few passengers on board.

The sub-committee recommends that taxis can carry 9 passengers each instead of the usual 14 and that buses can also carry half of their capacity.

The sub-committee also recommended that private vehicles should also be allowed to move but must not carry more than three people each.

On schools and other higher institutions of learning, the sub-committee recommends that those with boarding sections alone can be allowed to reopen but with restrictions not to allow visitors during this period. Those with day section should remain closed.

Universities like Makerere are being proposed to remain closed until there is certainty that Uganda has totally circumvented COVID or when treatment or vaccine has globally been established.

Public buildings and offices

The committee had recommended that they should reopen but with strict guidelines such as working in shifts to ensure social distancing and regular installation of sanitizers and hand washing facilities.

Temperature measurements must also be regularly taken to ensure those coming for work at public buildings are measured as they enter and depart after work. Such companies operating offices on public buildings must ensure that 50% of the employees come to work on shared weeks; one group this week and another group the week after. This is to avoid congesting these office spaces. The commonly-used office doors must remain open through the day to avoid different staffers touching on it to potentially expose others in case they are infected themselves.

Factories are being proposed to reopen but strictly observe physical distancing rules, compulsorily have hand-sanitizers applicable to all and temperature-taking thermometers to which every employee must be subjected on entry in the morning and exit in the evening. The wearing of gloves and facemasks too will be compulsory at factories and even restaurants. Because he badly needs taxes to keep realizing the money he is used to having around him in plenty, Gen Museveni will most likely buy into this suggestion to reopen some of these businesses soonest so that URA is able to once against collect taxes from them.

The sub-committee recommends that the curfew time be reduced from 7pm to 10pm going all the way to 6am daily.

Abitegeka Gerald

The News Editor ,Reporter at Kagadi Kibaale community Radio

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