At least 1.2 million learners are to return to school in Uganda next month after President Museveni on Sunday said his government had decided to further relax Covid-19 restrictions.
"We have decided to reopen schools for candidate classes for S4, S6, finalists in tertiary institutions and finalists in Universities on October 15, 2020," Mr Museveni said as he addressed Ugandans.
If schools follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), President Museveni said, they will be safe.
According to him, the cost of waiting further will be higher than reopening due to the jam created by the process of transition.
Deaths and new cases
Mr Museveni further said the 63 Ugandans who have succumbed to the virus and the 6,287 people who have been infected since March this year when the virus outbreak was confirmed in the country should act as a lesson to the people he called skeptics.
"As usual, we had the usual enemies of Uganda and Africa who started saying that there was no COVID-19 and that it was dictator Museveni who was using the cover of COVID-19 to stop the opposition from winning over the masses. The increasing number of people dying of the virus should have now convinced the skeptical that this is no joke," he added.
Further, the President said International Airport and land borders will now be opened for tourists, coming in and going out, provided they tested negative 72 hours before arrival in Uganda and provided the tour operators ensure that the tourists do not mix with the Ugandans.
"Returning Ugandans, who have negative PCR results, will be allowed to go home. The Ministry of Health will only get their addresses for follow up. Restrictions on movements on border districts are hereby lifted. Curfew, from 9pm to 6am, will be maintained; but for the boda bodas, their movements must always end at 6pm," he said.
Places of worship
He said places of places of worship will open with only individual prayers or confessions with priests or counseling with the necessary SOPs.
"Prayers and fellowships whose numbers do not exceed 70 and by observing all the other SOPs," he added.
Night prayers and trans nights are not allowed.
The regular large gatherings of prayers and preachings of Sundays and Fridays will be considered at a later stage but the rule of the number of 70 and not more can be used on the Fridays and Sundays.
Open air activities of sports will re-open provided there are no spectators and the players are tested for Covid-19, 72 hours before. This test will expire in 14 days. Hence, the Sportsmen will have to repeat the test every fortnight.
However, with tournaments, teams should be quarantined for the whole season of the competition.
"Indoor sports activities, including gyms, remain closed," he said.
Casinos, gaming centres and cinemas
The president said casinos, gaming centres, bars and cinemas remain closed while hotels will continue operating following the SOPs agreed with the Ministry of Health.
"Restaurants should continue to emphasize the takeaways. Indoor restaurant services should be minimized and follow the SOPs," he said
Mobile Markets, monthly cattle auction and produce markets, should remain closed as the Ministry of Health continues to develop SOPs.
Mr Museveni also said mass gatherings are still prohibited.
"The recent NRM activities should not be an excuse. Lining behind candidates is not the same as holding public meetings," he said.
"Our Bamasaaba grandchildren engaged in Imbalu have SOPs from the Ministry of Health that were agreed with the Cultural Institution. There should be no processions dancing Kadodi - that is dangerous congregating," he added.