Uganda reopens worship places but enforces strict restrictions – La Croix International

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. (Photo by Chatham House) 
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has announced the reopening of places of worship that were shut since June 2020 following an upsurge of COVID-19 cases in the east African country.
“The COVID-19 transmission rates in the country have continued to decline…the daily average number of confirmed cases over the last one month has declined and stabilized,” the president said in a televised address.
However, Museveni said there must be strict adherence to all standard operating procedures at all times.
This includes hand washing, use of alcohol-based sanitizers, temperature monitoring, and consistent wearing of face masks by all congregants, including the choir and preachers, according to Ugandan Catholics Online.
“Limit the number of worshippers at any one time to not more than 200 provided the place of worship can ensure physical distancing of 2 meters on either side and adequate aeration,” the president said.
Museveni called on Church leaders to work with the government to encourage the population to vaccinate and to comply with all other control measures.
Uganda’s Ministry of health had anticipated the reopening of worship in church premises, making arrangements such that when places of worship are eventually opened, worshippers should not be exposed to unnecessary risk.
It had developed standard operating procedures to enable leaders of churches run worship sessions without exposing the worshippers to infection.
While worship places are to reopen, Museveni has directed that entertainment centers such as bars and discotheques are to remain closed as they tend to accommodate large gatherings that are difficult to control.
He directed universities and other post-secondary education institutions to re-open on Nov. 1 and also a range of other sport and social activities such as weddings and funerals to resume.
A night curfew would be maintained though, to help prevent a third wave of the pandemic, the president said.
“With the level of vaccination still low, I direct that these remain closed until at least the 4.8 million priority population is vaccinated,” he said.
So far over 1.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered, mostly from priority groups such as health workers, teachers, students from post-secondary institutions, security personnel, elderly people aged 50 and above, those with comorbidities.
The government aims at vaccinating about 22 million people, or nearly half of the country’s population.
As of September 22, 2021, there were 123,502 confirmed COVID-19 infections, 3,135 deaths and 340 admissions to private and public hospitals in the country.

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