President Yoweri Museveni has Monday rooted for continued support to sectors of industry and agriculture as one of the ways for the Great lakes region not to sink into shortage of food during the existing Coronavirus global pandemic.
The President made the remarks while addressing leaders of members states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held via video conferencing on Monday to among other things focus on a regional response strategy to curb COVID-19.
The virtual summit was attended by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Somalia’s leader Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayadirt who was represented by Riek Machar and Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
“I urged that all countries continue to facilitate the sectors of Industry and Agriculture such that we do not run out of food and other essential products while we fight coronavirus,” wrote President Museveni on Facebook.
The President briefed his counterparts on the measures Uganda has taken to avert the spread of coronavirus.
“I expressed solidarity with my colleagues in the fight against COVID-19 and assured them that we can defeat this disease,” he said.
On March 21, President Yoweri Museveni announced that Uganda had blocked all passenger flights into Uganda as well as entry of people into the country by road and water, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The announcement overshadowed his earlier position of allowing travelers into the country but be subjected to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
He said the position was reversed due to the poor conduct of some travelers.
“We have decided to prohibit all incoming passengers whether by air land or water. In order to actualize this, we have decided to prohibit all passenger planes from outside Uganda from landing at any of the airports of Uganda,” Museveni said.
Exception was given to cargo planes flying in and outside of Uganda. The other planes which are exempted from the ban are UN planes which are involved in emergency and relief work and other UN operations.
“The crews of these cargo or UN mission planes will be accommodated in locations agreed on with concerned authorities,” noted the President.
As such, Museveni today advised his counterparts that the movement of cargo across the region should be allowed to proceed, albeit under Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Last week, President suspended public transport means for 14 days before again appealing to the public to stay home especially those with cough and flu.
He said it is very important that those with symptoms – flu and cough – to avoid going into the public, stressing that such individuals should isolate themselves at home where they can be managed by health workers without infecting others.
Uganda currently has 33 confirmed coronavirus cases. Globally, 738,679 people are infected, 35,012 have died and 156,317 have recovered since confirmation of the first case in China last year.