LIVE: Museveni address on schools, security and COVID-19 – Independent

September 22, 2021 The News Today, VIDEOS 1 Comment
 
Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has said schools will only be re-opened after the high risk groups and teachers are fully vaccinated.  Institutions and universities can open November 1, while primary and secondary schools will re-open next year.
The president said this today while addressing the nation on measures to contain COVID-19. (full address bottom)
He also announced that places of worship can re-open with strict SOPs, and numbers limited to 200. Also allowed are funerals and weddings, also at a limit of 200.
LIVE ADDRESS

PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT TO THE
NATION ON PROGRESS OF THE COVID-
19 RESPONSE
Date: 22nd September 2021
Dear Countrymen and Countrywomen,
Since my last address to you on the 30th of July 2021, the COVID-19 transmission rates in the country have continued to decline. Despite this, some districts continue to show higher transmission rates and are considered hotspot districts. This persistent transmission is in the following 9 districts namely: Kampala, Kalungu, Kabale, Kumi, Soroti, Tororo, Gulu, Nwoya and Yumbe.
The daily average number of confirmed cases over the last one month has declined and stabilized at 124 cases countrywide, from an average of 1,445 cases at the peak of the second wave in June 2021. Similarly, the daily average number of deaths has declined to 6 from 57 deaths at the height of the peak of the second wave.
As of 22nd September 2021, the country has registered 122,502 confirmed cases and 3,135 deaths. Additionally, the current admissions stand at 340 in both public and private facilities (272 in public, 66 in prisons and only 2 in the private facilities), of whom 144 (38%) are in the severe and critical category.
Following the previous wave, the current national COVID19 response strategy now focuses on the following interventions:
1. COVID-19 Vaccination
Government continues to carry out extensive mobilization of COVID-19 vaccines and by the end of December 2021, we expect about 12 million doses as shown below:
As of now, we have 2,294,000 doses of vaccines available at the National Medical Stores (NMS) out of 11,978,840 million doses expected by end of December 2021.
In regards to the vaccination strategy, the following are being undertaken:  
18 years and above (approx. 22 m) ii. Prioritizing the vaccination of the 4.8 million priority population: health workers, teachers, security personnel, elderly persons of 50 years and above, those below 50 years with comorbidities and 330,000 students in post-secondary institutions aged 18 years and above.
Therefore, I now direct with immediate effect that, all RDCs, CAOs and DHOs must  carry out intensive mobilization for all eligible priority groups to go for vaccination. They should, in addition, ensure that no vaccines are wasted or left to expire. In any district where vaccines expire, the RDC, CAO and DHO will be dismissed.
2. Surveillance
In order to prevent the third wave and importation or emergence of new variants in the country, I direct the Ministry of Health to:
COVID-19 Statutory Instrument  iii. Increased awareness by the sector of the risks and adherence to SOPs
I am aware of the limitations of the current Public Health Act. Cabinet will fast track its amendment to facilitate the enforcement of SOPs and include among others, the onspot and court fines of those who fail to adhere to SOPs.
In this regard, the National Task Force has reviewed the sectors that were pending lifting of restrictions and I now direct as follows:
a) Places of Worship: 
The places of worship can now open under the following conditions:
c. Casinos, Gaming, Betting shops and Gyms: 
d. Concerts, disco halls, performing artists and beaches
These tend to congregate large numbers and are difficult to control.  With the level of vaccination still low, I direct that these remain closed until at least the 4.8 million priority population is vaccinated.
e. Bars  
Bars are a high risk area where individuals have no sobriety to observe the SOPs. They  will be considered for re-opening when the 4.8 million priority population is vaccinated.
g.Curfew
Restriction of movement of persons at the night time is key to the enforcement of other preventive health measures. Curfew remains at 7:00pm – 5:30am. Boda bodas should stop movement at 6:00pm.
h.Weekly markets
 These are open door settings and currently transmission rates are low in some areas. These can be opened with strict adherence to SOPs and the curfew hours except for current hotspot districts (Soroti, Kampala, Kalungu, Kabale, Kumi, Tororo, Gulu, Nwoya and Yumbe). The RDCs, RPCs, DPCs, DISOs, GISOs should enforce adherence to SOPs.
The Minister for Health should follow up the hotspot districts and review their situation for safe re-opening of the weekly markets after two weeks.
i. Reopening of schools:
Infections in children below 18 years are often mild and they recover quickly. However, many of the 15 million learners are day scholars who once infected, go back home and infect their parents and grandparents that may subsequently die. This was observed during the second wave.
To avoid a similar scenario, the National Task Force,  on several occasions considered conditions for safe reopening of schools which included; vaccination of teachers, non-teaching staff, 330,000 students aged 18 years and above, plus all the other priority population, This was in addition to the rate of transmission in the country.
To-date, out of the targeted 550,000 teachers, 269,945 have already received the 1st dose of vaccination while 96,653 have received the second dose. This leaves a total of 280,055 not yet vaccinated at all.
Table 2: Vaccination Status of the 4.8 million priority population to-date
(17.6%)
(37.8%)
(19.4%)
I, now, direct as follows:
I call upon all teachers and support staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible to enable safe re-opening of schools.
4. Patient Care
Regarding patient care and the challenges observed in the second wave which were: – High patient numbers
I direct the Ministry of Health as follows;
Referral Hospitals
The Ugandan health workers have done a commendable job since the start of the pandemic. I would like to commend them for the spirit of hard work and patriotism.
I thank you for listening.
For God and my Country
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
22 September 2021
 
 
 
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September 22, 2021
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What happened to the Government Programme of distributing radios to all learners in primary and secondary schools to study at home while waiting for school reopening.
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