Ugandans Told to Lock Down or Get Locked Up

Ugandans, whose Ministry of Health preaches the idea of “fighting the virus not the people”, have been told that they could be thrown into prison if they break lockdown rules by operating banned businesses or even by not wearing a face mask when outside. BBC News has the story.

According to new rules released by the Health Ministry in a statutory document, those found operating banned businesses such as bars, nightclubs, cinemas and shops selling non-food items face time in prison.

Current lockdown measures also restrict cultural ceremonies like weddings to only 20 people, and anyone found hosting a larger number might be jailed.

Heads of households or owners of premises or property who fail to report people infected with Covid to health officials may be imprisoned as well.

Not wearing a mask outside of one’s residence or assisting someone to escape from quarantine, could land one in jail.

Since the country first went into lockdown in March 2020, security forces have in some cases meted out violence on the public while enforcing control measures and several people have been killed.

Officials warn that Uganda is currently going through a second wave of Covid infections which should have peaked by early August.

Graphic from Reuters.

Lockdown rule-breaking – which also includes praying in open places – could land Ugandans in prison for two months, according to Voice of America. State Minister for Health Anifa Kawooya says the new measures are necessary. “These penalties are not punishments. In one way, it is to instil attitude change… That the moment that you know that if I don’t observe these [standard operating procedures], this will happen.”

The BBC News report is worth reading in full.