President Yoweri Museveni advises that the health ministry should have standard protection of health workers - with or without an epidemic.
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS TO NATION ON CORONAVIRUS
Live reporting by Joseph Kizza
(Scroll down the page for earlier updates)
9:53pm | Good night!
And it's a wrap for tonight!
But before I sign out, here is a quick summary of the sticking points in the Presiden't address:
• Coronavirus cases in Uganda rise by one to 53
• Exercising in public banned
• Security warned against beating people
• Boda bodas to go off roads at 2pm
• Politicians giving food to people to be arrested
• Protective gear expected soon
• Protection of health workers to be standardized
• All cargo travellers coming into the country to be tested
Oh, and please keep donating to the cause. Stay safe, stay home and if you are keen on keeping in tip-top shape and keeping non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at bay, execise from home.
I saw a video of so many people on the Northern bypass walking and running around that, they are exercising. This should stop. If you want to exercise, you can do that indoors. I will show you how it is done tomorrow. I will do a video for you. pic.twitter.com/eQ6NmcEpZR— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) April 8, 2020
9:49pm | This is time for survival - Museveni
President Museveni wraps up his evening address with a tone of emphasis.
"There is time for everything. There is time for survival - and this is time for survival. This is not the usual way of life. We are lucky it [the coronavirus situation] has not escalated."
9:43pm | Education minister clarifies further on exams issue
The Minister of Education and Sports, First Lady Janet Museveni, gets an opportunity to address the issue of exams.
Citing Uganda Christian University (UCU), she says her team tried to convince the leadership of the university against going ahead with plans to conduct exams (online).
She says she told the university that it would be unfair for some students to take the exams and others failing to do so. Her advice to the institution was to be patient until the country sees out this coronavirus crisis.
"I am happy now that you have heard from the President himself [on the issue," adds the minister.
"What is important in this period is to be safe and healthy until we get out of this crisis. (...) I hope everyone in this country will understand," she says.
9:36pm | Donations through the fund
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda says that the national taskforce has received more donations and that a fund has been created for this cause.
The fund is headed by Mary Karooro Okurut. President Museveni appointed Dorothy Kisaka, the governance advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister, to the fund's administrator. A team of people who are experienced in mobilisation will join this fund team and they will be announced soon.
Ndugu Rugunda assures that the public will be updated on the donations received through the fund on a routine basis.
9:32pm | President reads out donations
The President is reading out the donations that have been made by a wide range of entities to the coronavirus fight.
The donations, which include cash, also feature vehicles, mattresses, spray pumps, gas cylinders, gloves, soap, face shields, hand sanitizers, pharmaceutical drugs, testing kits, mosquito nets, food, drinking water.
"These should be published in the papers," directs the President, clearly happy with the generosity.
He particularly singles out People Power Movement (led by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine) for their donations and equips: "Thank you so much. Now you see you are joining the people."
"Thank you so much [to everyone that has donated]," he concludes.
I am sorry that LDU’s stopped medical doctors and harassed them before the stickers came. I am very sorry about that. I also have problems with my security people who like beating people. This must stop, I don’t want to see a security person beating people. pic.twitter.com/rtnpaHpupm— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) April 8, 2020
9:17pm | Standardise protection of health workers - Museveni
Museveni advises that if anyone is suspected of having coronavirus, they should not be moved. They should instead stay at home until health officials from the specific hub in that jurisdiction to reach them for further attention.
He underlines that health centre IIIs are not responsible for testing coronavirus samples.
He also touches on the issue of protection of health workers in the line of duty.
"We are going to discuss with the health hierarchy on how to better protect heath workers. As ministry of health, we should have standard protection of people [medical personnel] - epidemic or no epidemic," says the President.
Museveni says this is very important, especially considering the numbers of medical personnel he has seen succumb to the coronavirus in other countries, including the US, Italy and Spain - nations that have taken a big hit in this pandemic.
He also apologises to all the medical workers that were stopped on their way by LDUs before they had got stickers to allow them free movement to and from their duty stations.
9:13pm | Cargo people to be tested starting Thursday
Health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng says that the passenger manifest at Entebbe International Airport indicates that from March 7, as many as 18,886 people flew into the country.
She says a good number of these are out in the public - some even asymptomatic (not showing any signs of coronavirus).
The minister says they are following up this group that is out at large.
Aceng adds that the health ministry will, starting Thursday, take samples from all cargo people coming into the country.
9:07pm | A warning to double-cabin divers
Museveni warns vehicles to stick to carrying on only cargo and not carry civilians.
"When the IGG visited the camera command centre, he saw a lot of double cabins and other pickups carrying nothing," he says, reiterating that people should use these vehicles only for work.
9:04pm | On examinations - 'Let us persevere'
The President is perplexed that some institutions are demanding to have exams conducted, and calls for a sobering of such actors.
"People should stop talking a language of normalcy in a period of abnormalcy," he says.
"Let us persevere."
9:00pm | On protective medical gear
Museveni rubbishes talk that Uganda is not prepared enough to fight the coronavirus if the situation worsens. He assures that the country is indeed prepared.
On the issue of protective equipment, particularly the face masks, he says that a batch of one million masks is expected.
"Besides, our factories are gearing up to provide these items," he adds.
8:54pm | Museveni warns politicians supplying food to people
The President directs that the security apparatus should arrest politicians who are insisting on supplying food to people using their own arrangements.
"Charge them with attempted murder" because they are endagering the lives of people by undermining the anti-coronavirus measures put in place.
He has previously advised anyone who wishes to contribute to relief efforts to go through the established channel, which is the national taskforce headed by the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.
The President also says that landlords should not force tenants from their houses due to overdue rent.
8:49pm | Boda bodas to stop work at 2pm
No boda bodas are to be seen on the roads after 2pm, directs the President.
He emphasizes that these motorcycles being allowed to operate are only for delivering cargo and not for carrying passengers, as per the set guidelines.
8:43pm | Museveni warns security against beating of people
Last week, the President warned local defence unit (LDU) officers against hooliganism during night-time operations after news reaching him of some of the LDU operatives storming people's houses and beating occupants.
He comes out again against such brutality, warning that matters should be handled within the instruments of law.
"Handle the issues firmly but legally," he advises security. "If you beat people, you give our security a bad image. You are now weaking us - not strengthening us."
8:40pm | Exercising in public banned
On exercising in public space, the President says: "There should be no exercising in public. Exercise in your compound or in your room. Tomorrow, I will capture a video of how you can exercise in your room."
8:36pm | I thank Ugandans for sticking to guidelines - Museveni
"I want to thank Ugandans for responding well and for behaving and listening to the guidelines," says President Museveni.
"There are, however, some actors that play with fire. This disease is very dangerous for many people, especially for some with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes - and even pregnant women.
"Those who are playing with this fire should stop! They should stop talking nonsense!" he warns.
8:34pm | Coronavirus cases in Uganda rises by one to 53
The fight against the new coronavirus is easy as a collaborative effort involving the adherance to the general countrywide measures as well as individual initiative, says the President.
He gives a timeline of the testing of samples at Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, which started on March 21.
Today, (Wednesday), 214 samples were tested and only one turned positive, bringing to 53 the total number of people that have tested positive for coronavirus in Uganda.
8:23pm | This is a matter of life and death - Museveni
The President outlines, with emphasis, the gravity of the coronavirus situation that has killed over 80,000 people across the globe, with nearly 1.5 million people infected.
"We are talking about life and death," he repeats, adding that the lockdown is not a matter of convenience.
He vows to become "harsh" on actors who do not understand how serious this situation is.
8:17pm | President Museveni begins his address
It is a little after 8pm here in Uganda's capital Kampala and the country's chief executive, President Yoweri Museveni, has started his address on the latest on the coronavirus situation in Uganda.
He is speaking from State House.
7:58pm | Coronavirus in Uganda: What we know so far
Tuesday's testing for COVID-19 at the Uganda Virus Research Institute was with 150 people and all returned negative.
President Museveni said 41 of these were from the quarantine group while 109 were from the districts that had been suspected of having come in contact with the returnees.
According to the health ministry, a cumulative total of 3,310 samples have been tested for COVID-19. The number of individuals under institutional quarantine has reduced from the original 1,040 to 613 as of Tuesday. A total of 427 individuals have been discharged from institutional quarantine. In addition, 855 contacts of the confirmed cases are under follow-up.
All the 52 people confirmed to have coronavirus are said to be in "stable condition" at Mulago National Specialized Hospital (20), Entebbe Grade B Hospital (30), Adjumani (1) and Hoima (1) hospital.
Uganda has not registered any coronavirus-related death.
7:55pm | Good evening
Hello and welcome to this evening's live coverage of President Yoweri Museveni's address to the nation on the coronavirus situation in Uganda. He last spoke to the nation on the subject on Friday.
Let's kick off this text and picture coverage, shall we!