Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Uganda extend restrictive measures through June 2 to halt the spread of COVID-19. Business and travel disruptions likely.

This alert affects Uganda

This alert began 19 May 2020 12:05 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, increased security

Authorities in Uganda have extended lockdown restrictions and measures through at least June 2 to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities aim to procure and distribute enough protective facemasks for every individual above the age of six during this period. This comes after officials noticed a trend of individuals swapping used facemasks, exacerbating the spread of the virus. Regulated use of public transport will also be permitted from June 2, with vehicles operating at 50 percent capacity.

Other restrictions maintained throughout the extension include:

  • A nationwide 1900-0630 curfew remains in place. The order does not apply for members of the military, police, health workers, and utility workers.
  • All borders remain closed. Cargo- and humanitarian-related services remain open.
  • Schools and facilities that attract large groups remain closed.
  • Nonessential businesses are to remain closed, including shopping malls, bars, and other establishments.

Authorities eased some restrictions from May 5, including the resumption of services by wholesale retailers, insurance companies, and construction businesses. Restaurants are open but only for takeaway services. The Uganda Law Society is allowed a quota of 30 lawyers at any one time to provide urgent legal services. Only private vehicles with authorized permits are allowed on the road. Individuals working in permitted facilities are allowed to use permitted buses, walk, or cycle.

Authorities will review the country's restrictive measures in 14 days; they will implement further measures or ease existing restrictions depending on the evolution of the disease in the country.

Background and Analysis
According to Ugandan authorities, as of May 19, there are 248 reported cases of COVID-19, with 63 recoveries and zero related deaths. The measures taken by the Ugandan government are similar to those taken by many governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Reconfirm all planned travel arrangements. Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions. Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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