Uganda toughens virus restrictions as cases surge

KAMPALA (AFP) – Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on Friday announced additional restrictions to curb COVID-19, including suspending inland travel, as infections hit record levels in the East African country.

Under the new measures, both public and private transport were banned but international borders will remain opened for tourists and freight cargo.

The government will impose a night-time curfew from 7pm to 5.30am, moving the start time up two hours from the current 9pm.

“All passenger vehicles are frozen,” Museveni told a televised address, saying the movement was “the cornerstone” of the flare-up of recent infections.

Market traders – essential to the food supply in the landlocked country – were directed to stay at their stalls and not return home. Factories and construction sites were also encouraged to keep their workers on site.

The new curbs will last six weeks.

Uganda last year took drastic measures to restrict movements when it had only a handful of coronavirus cases – imposing one of the earliest lockdowns and closures on the continent.

The landlocked country gradually eased those restrictions as COVID-19 cases dropped.

However, severe infections have soared in recent weeks and overwhelmed the fragile health system.