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Ugandan Policies in Response to COVID-19

The Ugandan government is taking the corona virus pandemic sweeping the world very seriously. Although there have been relatively few cases (53) and no deaths the government has essentially locked down the country. The airport is closed and even the use of private vehicles, up to and including bicycles have been banned, even for personal use. Construction and some other work is allowed, but workers are told to camp near their work sites. Restaurants, bars and retail outlets are closed except for food, pharmaceuticals and agricultural and veterinary products. There is a strictly enforced curfew, with no movement after dark. The shutdown started on March 31st, for an original period of 14 days.

As of the latest report, there have been 55 confirmed cases and no deaths. On April 14th, President Museveni extended the lockdown for another three weeks. Maybe, with so few cases that seems to some an overreaction, but Uganda has a population of almost 43 million, a bit bigger than California, which has less than 40 million. California has over 12,000 ventilators. Uganda has six. Not 6000, six.

The president has asked banks and utility companies to refrain from disconnecting services or seizing assets. The government is distributing food to 1.5 million of its most vulnerable citizens, primarily in the cities. Some eight million Ugandans live in poverty so many more are facing increased food insecurity.

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