Covid-19 measures harsh but necessary

Wednesday April 1 2020

A Local Defence Unit (LDU) recruit whips a man

A Local Defence Unit (LDU) recruit whips a man downtown Kampala as they enforced President Museveni's directives in a bid to forestall the spread of coronavirus. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA  


The latest raft of measures to combat coronavirus spread will strain a populace already living on the edge, especially those who must eke a daily living to put food on the table.

But these restrictions are needed to win the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
By mid-February, Italy, the US, Britain and Germany were smarting over news about the novel coronavirus. It was all about China.

Yet a month down the road, these same developed countries, with all their advanced medical science and related infrastructure, are on their knees looking at Covid-19 as some invincible force.
Who wants to be another Italy, Germany, Britain or US? No government wants that. Not Uganda.

President Museveni on Monday announced a total lockdown and evening curfew, adding to the several measures such as closing schools, a ban on gatherings and events, among others, that have been in place.

Understandably, these restrictions have made an already tense nation, especially the poor, to worry about tomorrow. There are millions who could not afford to stock up foodstuff.

Mr Museveni said government will rollout food relief to vulnerable population. This is commendable and must be fast-tracked to lift one burden off the heaving chest of many households.


It is prudent that relief distribution is effective. In a country where corruption overshadows every fabric of life, authorities should ensure that the President’s gesture leaves a mark of gratitude.

Otherwise, the mirror of failure would not only reflect a people forced to defy the restrictions, but dent the government’s decision to ban politicians from doling out relief items.

The President banned politicians from giving out relief items to people during the lockdown knowing well that relief in times of a pandemic is welcome from anyone. But the government, rightly, sees a scenario where opportunistic leaders begin to abuse their own kind gesture, causing crowding.

This would expose many to risk of infection and fan the coronavirus spread instead. The alternative of passing donations through Office of the Prime Minister is viable.

Amid all the measures, most people have noticed that it is getting more exacting with every national address. So where do we go after these latest unprecedented ones?
This will depend on every one of us.

Adhere to the guidelines and we will combat the spread of the virus, and give health officials enough space to deal with it. Flout the rules and the dire situation will worsen. It is an easy choice.

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