New infection figures show that the Covid-19 situation in Uganda is rapidly changing, forcing the government and scientists to reconsider their strategy, especially in the capital, Kampala, a virus hotspot.
The country has recorded more cases and deaths in August than the total registered in the four months since March 21 when the first case was reported.
Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa told parliament last week that President Yoweri Museveni was set to meet National Covid-19 Task Force. The outcome of this meeting would determine whether the president declares another lockdown or opens up the remaining sectors of the economy such as bars, schools, places of worship and some border districts.
But the expected presidential address to the nation did not materialise as on Tuesday, August 25, and on Thursday, the president instead announced that August 29 was a public holiday dedicated to national prayers to ask God to deliver Uganda from Covid-19.
“A certain Ugandan came to me and told me that God had told him in a vision that I should organise National Prayers, scientifically organised, for God to deliver us from Covid- 19,” the president tweeted.
“Therefore, by the powers given to the President of Uganda by Section 2(2) of the Public Holidays Act, I declare the August 29, 2020, a day of National Prayers and a Public Holiday. Stay in your houses or Compounds and pray.”
As of Thursday, the cumulative confirmed cases of Ugandans who tested positive for coronavirus stood at 2,679 after the day’s report of 155 new cases, while recoveries have stagnated at 1,268 for some days now.
So far, the country’s highest single-day tally of 318 cases was reported on August 22, when 153 inmates and one staff of Amuru Prison tested positive, while the rest were spread across the country’s hotspots, with Kampala registering with 65 cases.
High daily numbers in the past seven days alone have ranged from 64 to 318, and this has contributed to the country’s total active cases jumping by 1,411 in about five weeks, more than the recorded number of recoveries. This is a quick turn of events from 117 just over a month ago when the number of recoveries was almost at par with the total confirmed cases. Over the same period, fatalities have risen from zero to 28 according to data by the Ministry of Health August 27 report.
The Kampala Metropolitan Area has the highest numbers of community transmission, with a total of 401 Covid-19 cases and six deaths registered in the week ending August 22. There is barely any attempt to observe rules, only the corporate workplaces are making efforts to enforce proper use of face masks, sanitiser and hand washing.