Kampala, Uganda, June 19 – Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on Friday announced additional restrictions to curb Covid-19, including suspending inland travel, as infections hit record levels in the East African country.
Under the new measures, both public and private transport were banned but international borders will remain opened for tourists and freight cargo.
The government will impose a night-time curfew from 7:00 pm to 5:30 am, moving the start time up two hours from the current 9:00 pm.
“All passenger vehicles are frozen,” Museveni told a televised address, saying the movement was “the cornerstone” of the flare-up of recent infections.
Market traders — essential to the food supply in the landlocked country — were directed to stay at their stalls and not return home. Factories and construction sites were also encouraged to keep their workers on site.
The new curbs will last six weeks.
Uganda last year took drastic measures to restrict movements when it had only a handful of coronavirus cases — imposing one of the earliest lockdowns and closures on the continent.
The landlocked country gradually eased those restrictions as Covid-19 cases dropped.
However, severe infections have soared in recent weeks and overwhelmed the fragile health system.
Doctors have told AFP that oxygen and other essential medical supplies have run low as daily cases have increased in the past three weeks from fewer than 100 to over 1,700.
This is despite tightened restrictions announced last week including the closure of schools, bars and most gatherings.
“The hospitals are full,” Museveni warned.
“The rapid surge in the intensity of the pandemic appears unprecedented, but still manageable” by introducing restrictions similar to those employed at the beginning of the pandemic, Museveni added.
Uganda has registered 70,893 cases of Covid-19 of which of 582 have been fatal.
Inoculation, as in many African nations, has been slow in part due to vaccine apathy and limited supplies.