Penalise people who defy Covid guidelines

Monday June 15 2020

Dr Aceng confirmed that due to technical

Dr Aceng confirmed that due to technical glitches, some samples tested between June 3 and June 4 that were negative were posted as positive. 

By EDITOR

Following the easing of the lockdown that has seen resumption of public transport and opening of some shopping malls, there is - as expected - more activity in the city.

As the country continues to register more Covid-19 cases, especially from border points such as Elegu, Malaba, and Mutukula, the country has also recorded further spread of cases in more districts.

During her address to update the country on Covid-19, the Health minister on Saturday said so far, 33 districts have registered coronavirus cases. Amuru and Kyotera districts are reporting the highest and most sustained transmission in comparison to other districts.

This continued community spread remains a major concern, especially at a time when Ugandans are desperate to get back to work and rebuild businesses that had either stalled or closed down.

Disappointingly, there is blatant flouting of guidelines put in place to control spread of the virus, notably wearing of facemasks, social distancing, handwashing or sanitising.

As we have stated before, the guideline on wearing facemasks has been ignored by many Ugandans. And it is not for lack of masks. Many people have the masks but are reluctant to wear them.

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Similarly, public service vehicles are disregarding the set rules. There have been appeals by some members of the public to have a police officer on the long-distance trips because some buses have reportedly been carrying full capacity instead of the recommended half.

The lockdown has had mixed effects. It has undoubtedly helped in curbing spread of the virus but it has also crippled businesses and many people are barely surviving. It is, therefore, unfair and unreasonable that a few people are not complying with basic guidelines aimed at protecting their own lives as many people are locked up at home unable to afford basic needs because their businesses have not been operational.

The Health minister last week warned that such complacency by the public presents a potential spike in the number of positive Covid-19 cases and implied that the government may consider another lockdown if people continue to disregard preventive measures.

A possibility of another lockdown is not something the government should consider at this point. Emphasis should instead be on enforcing compliance and ensuring preventive measures are followed by the public. It is far less costly than another lockdown because it would prevent the spread of the virus as Ugandans resume normal business.

As government distributes facemasks across the country, it will be a waste of resources if the population will not be wearing these masks. There must be penalties for disregarding these preventive measures. Another lockdown is not a sustainable option.

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