Uganda: Museveni Suspends Public Transport for 14 Days

President Museveni on Wednesday evening suspended use of public transport for 14 days with immediate effect.

"All public means of transport have been suspended for 14 days. This includes taxis, buses, coasters, passenger trains, tricycles and boda bodas. Only private means will be allowed to move. Private cars will only be allowed to carry not more than three people," Mr Museveni said.

The president was addressing the nation following the confirmation of five new coronavirus cases bringing the total to 14.

According to him, other private vehicles that will be allowed to move are trucks/lorries carrying food. He said boda boda's can be used to carry food.

"We are trying to target human beings. Passengers will only move in private cars. Ambulances, vehicles of security forces; army and police, some of the government vehicles doing essential work, garbage trucks will be allowed to move," Mr Museveni said.

The president also suspended the operation of non-food shops and markets with immediate effect until further notice.

"For now, the markets should only be for selling foodstuffs like matooke, nuts, rice, fish, etc. Therefore, trading in the market other non-food items like clothes, mobile phones, necklaces and shoes among others, has been suspended to create space," Mr Museveni said.

"Supermarkets will have to control customer traffic load within the premises and look into possibilities of utilizing motorbike service delivery systems to clients and thus reduce human traffic in these collections," he added.

He said that after dealing with public transport and the markets to some extent, the other areas of human concentration are the offices.

"Each ministry should work out plans of remaining with only essential staff on duty. For example, at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) where we need some people to clear goods that come into the country. Therefore each department should work out the essential staff needed on duty."

Mr Museveni said that this crisis will teach Ugandans how to do businesses without involving too much human involvement.

"In Kampala, companies will be identified and licenced to start doing boda boda delivery business. I hope there will be no corruption and bribery. I wouldn't want to know why there would be any limit. The point is that move around but move goods not people," he said.

The president also directed that: "All government vehicles in the district should be put at the district headquarters under the command of the District Health Officer and may be assisted by police, such that when we hear of any suspected cases we don't get excuses of no vehicles."

He said that the government has in place a system of getting samples from suspected patients from all over the country to be taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe for testing. He added that there are teams near the villages who will be doing the monitoring.

Mr Museveni announced that the first eight people who tested positive of coronavirus are being treated and are doing well.

"Temperatures have come down but one still has a high fever. We are still studying that one and the virus," he said.

Museveni ended his speech by quoting the Bible. He quoted Isaiah 26:20, reportedly sent to him by a sheikh. It reads; "Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by."

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