The ministry of Health is now banking on personal responsibility to curb further transmission of Covid-19 as the economy fully reopens.
Bars, entertainment centres, public concerts, and the entire arts industry have been fully reopened effective today, after close to two years of extreme restrictions which were first instituted in March 2020 to halt transmission of the coronavirus. There will also be no more nighttime curfew, in line with a pronouncement made by President Yoweri Museveni in his new year's address.
Dr Diana Atwiine, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Health says that as restrictions are being lifted, an average of 17 people are dying every day and severe cases have been registered where 65 per cent are people of advanced age and not vaccinated.
"We reopened already, it was just in theory but people wanted to formally hear, but people were operating normally. The issue is now that we have reopened fully, people should not forget that Covid is here with us, and we’re likely to stay with this Covid for some time. So we have to adapt to a new normal, and this new normal is to ensure that we get vaccinated and those who got vaccinated six months ago especially the group that is more vulnerable get a booster, put on your mask, wash your hands, sanitise and social distance. Those processes need to be part of us now," said Atwiine.
She said that people need to continue observing standard operating procedures (SOPs) of wearing masks, physical distancing and getting vaccinated because no one is sure of what will happen next considering the unpredictable nature of the virus.
"It is your personal responsibility to take care of your life, it is nobody's. Now that we have reopened, I heard some people are even planning to sleep in the bars, okay, but of course unfortunately for us in health, even those who sleep in the bars, we shall get alcoholic coma in our emergency or in accidents. So we’re always suffering on the side of medicine. Whatever happens, we’re the ones who get the repercussions, so we just ask people to enjoy responsibly," added Atwiine.
For now, Uganda has started recording another reduction in cases after a spike that started in December. At the National Planning Authority (NPA) where weekly projections of infections trends are made, their latest model released today Monday shows the country will continue seeing this reduction in the coming weeks.
Eng Abraham Muwanguzi who heads NPA science planning department says the country has registered a 52 per cent drop in the previous two weeks, quoting their model which shows there will be a further drop till the week ending February 5, 2022.
The model projects a weekly total of 2,286 and a daily average of 326 new cases for the week ending February 5. But, even as projections are showing a downward trend with daily positivity rates not going beyond 5 per cent of tests done, experts like Atwine say this can quickly change, yet not as many people are offering themselves for immunization.
As of today, Atwiine says only 12.5 million doses of the vaccines have been administered of the over 32 million doses stock that the country has so far received.
When it comes to infections, official figures released by the ministry this afternoon shows the country has recorded a cumulative 160,572 cases and some 284 are currently admitted in different treatment facilities across the country.