By Judith Nabakooba
Fellow Ugandans, yesterday the country registered 318 cases of COVID-19. This is another day’s record. For the past week or so,
Uganda’s every new day total has been breaking the previous day’s record.
We all now know that Uganda has entered a critical stage in its fight against COVID-19.
In yesterday’s total, the biggest number came from prisons in Amuru district with a total of 154 new infections. Among these was also a prisons member of staff.
Still from yesterday’s numbers, a total of 23 different districts all registered cases. This indicates that the infections are spreading
everywhere and soon the entire country will be under attack.
In a special way, I want to reach out to our friends in the media. We have so far got cases of media employees testing positive. Journalists are critical frontline workers in this effort and I want to remind all media houses to ensure that they follow the guidelines that were issued by UCC at the start of the pandemic. We must however admit that some journalists have not been following these guidelines as well.
The public generally must therefore admit that we have ourselves to blame for the current situation. We have failed to take seriously the guidance from our experts.
I want to call upon all leaders regardless of their political or religious inclination to own up and speak the same language when it comes to preventing COVID-19.
It is unfortunate that some leaders are continuing to use their spaces to confuse the public with statements that question the
existence of COVID-19.
It is such reckless comments and behavior hat have gotten us to where we are today. Every life lost to COVID-19 is very unfortunate because all the guidance on how to stay safe is with us.
When it comes to Kampala, our capital city has now turned out be the biggest source of COVID-19 infections and deaths. As of yesterday, Kampala had registered 65 new cases.
The public must understand that almost 90% of all these new infections in Kampala are from people using taxis and buses. This should not come as a surprise because all public transporters in the taxi parks and bus terminals failed to administer the guidelines that were given when the lockdown was lifted.
I therefore want to warn all people who continue to use public transport that you are putting your life at a high risk of catching covid-19.
If you must use public transport, ensure to have your mask on all the time, remember to sanitise when boarding and when disembarking.
The Minister for Transport recently sent out the final warning to all public transport operators, the fate is now in your hands.
The situation with Arcades and Markets continues to be bad. The list of arcades and markets failing to observe the guidelines
continues to grow every day.
I therefore continue to advise everyone, please stay away from the city centre if what is taking you there is not so important.
As government it is not in our interest to announce another lockdown because people’s livelihoods are adversely affected.
However under the current circumstances, it is obvious that people will only comply after another lockdown has been put in
As part of our effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, His Excellency the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni instructed the Ministry of Health to avail free face masks to all
Ugandans above the age of six.
The distribution started in July with the border and high risk districts. Recently distribution also started in Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono and other areas as well.
So far, more than 13 million masks have been given out and some of the people who received can be seen putting them on.
However, government is getting feedback that some of the masks being produced by some of the companies contracted are of poor quality and do not meet the standards issued by Ministry of Health.
This is a big disappointment on the side of the suppliers entrusted with the responsibility of producing quality face masks meant to save lives of Ugandans.
Government is going to follow up with the respective suppliers and those found guilty of producing substandard masks are at
risk of having their contracts cancelled. I want to assure the public that government is committed to ensure that all Ugandans have access to free and good quality
I also call upon residents in all those areas that have not yet received masks to remain calm. Efforts are underway to have them delivered to your respective local governments.
Coming to elections, allow me to congratulate all the candidates that came out as winners in the just concluded elections.
Elections have been held at National levels for different categories such as the elderly and the youth.
Parties such as the NRM have also had their own internal elections. This is now the time for reconciliation amongst the different competing camps.
Let us say not to violence as we continue to participate in the rest
of the elections.
Finally, the social media platforms have been busy with a lot of fake news targeting His Majesty the King of Buganda. There some
malicious individuals who concentrate on spreading false news about government and other public officials.
Uganda Communications Commission is monitoring some of these unscrupulous individuals and very soon arrests will be made.
My advise to all social media users is that please do not share or continue to circulate any information you find online whose source you are not sure about.
Those behind the fake news scams are warned to immediately stop before the law catches up with them.
I want to end by telling everyone that in case you are having any of the signs of COVID-19 such as flu, high temperature, loss of
taste and breathe; go to the nearest government hospital and ask or a checkup.
Early treatment will enable you to save your life and that of your loved ones. Let us continue observing the guidance in place regarding COVID-19.
For God and My County.
The writer is the Minister of ICT, Information and National Guidance.