Lockdown update: Easing to begin next week

President Museveni said Tuesday that the lockdown easing he announced yesterday will not come into effect until a week later, after the health ministry issues guidelines on the face masks required to go out in public.

The easing will start on Tuesday 26 May, a week after the president’s 19th address on the pandemic. The one week should be used to “prepare” and to acquire “standard” face masks, Mr Museveni said, relaxing the initial directive that only government-provided masks will be allowed. He added that the ministry of health will give specifications on the standard face masks.

The measures which take effect next week include the use of private cars, reopening of general merchandise shops, hotels, and restaurants. Public transport and education institutions will resume on 4 June, while private and public transport in forty border districts will remain suspended.

List of border districts
Region District Total
Acholi Amuru, Kitgum, Lamwo 3
Ankole Isingiro, Ntungamo, Rubirizi 3
Buganda Kyotera, Rakai 2
Bukedi Busia, Tororo 2
Bunyoro Bulisa, Hoima, Kagadi Kikube 4
Bugisu Bududa, Manafwa, Namisindwa 3
Karamoja Amudat, Kaboong, Karenga, Moroto 4
Sebei Bukwo 1
Rwenzori Bundibugyo, Kasese, Ntoroko 3
West Nile Arua, Adjumani, Koboko, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Pakwach, Yumbe, Zombo 9
Kigezi Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rubanda, Rukiga, Rukungiri 6

On Monday, the president announced a raft of new measures aimed at easing the lockdown instituted in March to check the spread of the coronavirus. But these were unclear and contradictory; the speech indicated that easing could start as early as 20 May, but also added that it would have to wait until the government had issued appropriate masks, most likely a week from 19 May.

The unclear instructions confused even the police, which issued an order – now recalled — to its commanders and units saying the relaxed measures will go into effect on 20 May.

According to the clarification from the president, the government will use the one week to distribute masks while those who can acquire masks on their own can do so as long as they are of the right quality.

The confirmed number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases in Uganda currently stands at 260, with 12 of those new cases confirmed on 18 May. Uganda has not registered any deaths from the coronavirus.

*Updated to add Police order and list of border districts