The impact of COVID 19 is still being felt the world over. While most strict lockdown conditions have been relaxed, many of you are experiencing a second wave of viral spread. Daily habits are simply not what they used to be.
Face masking and social distancing has become our new normal. The race for a vaccine is on!
As of January 5, 2020 there are 36,702 confirmed cases of COVID19 in Uganda. Over 5,000 of these were discovered within the last 3 weeks. The cases are widely spread across the country. Our government tests approximately 4,000 people each day. We have registered 12,494 recoveries and 294 deaths.
Our numbers have remained low when compared with the wider world as our borders were closed to passenger travel from March to October. The president believes it is now time to focus on our economy and upcoming election. It’s up to Ugandans themselves to limit the spread of this virus. Hand washing, face masking, and social distancing continue to be our way forward.
As of October 1, 2020, all incoming travelers must show a negative PCR test (with the sample taken within the previous 120 hours) on arrival at Entebbe International Airport or any land border. Tourists must be collected by a tour company, stay in designated hotels, and not mix with the local population.
Beyond any government directive, it is important to note that Ugandans are fully aware of the toll COVID19 is taking on the world and are wary of mixing with international travelers right now.
Because of this, The Real Uganda’s programs remain closed for the time being. Everyone we work with must be comfortable before we re-open.
The Real Uganda offers 2 – 12 week locally-led communty-based volunteer programs.
Here’s a review of how our government has handled the coronavirus pandemic:
On March 20, 2020 our President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, closed all schools and religious services, and banned public and cultural gatherings. Mass weddings and funerals were disallowed.
On March 22, 2020 Uganda’s airport and all land borders were closed to passenger travel.
On March 25, 2020 all public transportation, including buses, taxis, trains, and boda bodas, was halted. Further, only food items were allowed to be sold in the markets. This was meant to aid in social distancing, which our president re-named “anti-social distancing”.
On March 30, 2020 all private passenger travel was banned. Only government, army, police and other essential personnel were allowed to use private vehicles. Regular Ugandans walked or cycled to the market and or pharmacies. Permission to use private vehicles for emergencies (child birth, medical emergencies) was individually sought through District governments. This was meant to stop people from illegally offering their private vehicles as public transport and to stop all upcountry travel (and possible viral spread).
On April 1, 2020 all shops except those selling food and medicine were closed. Factories remained open if employers provided camp-style accommodation for their employees. Market vendors continued if they agreed to sleep at work. There was to be no movement or mixing of people.
On April 1, 2020 Uganda was placed under a 7pm to 6:30am curfew. No movement of people. Cargo and essential workers were exempt from this.
On April 8, 2020 boda boda and bicycle riders were banned from operating after 2pm.
On May 5, 2020 boda boda and bicycle riders were allowed to operate until 5pm. Some business closures were eased, such as insurance companies and auto garages.
On May 26, 2020 private passenger vehicles were allowed to move with no more than 3 people inside. All passengers were to wear face masks. The 7pm curfew remained in effect.
On June 4, 2020 public passenger vehicles (buses and taxis) were allowed to move with half capacity. All passengers to sanitize hands before entering and wear a face mask throughout their journey.
On June 22, 2020 private vehicles were allowed to carry up to 4 people, including the driver.
On June 24, 2020 repatriation flights for diaspora Ugandans began landing at Entebbe International Airport. Ugandans living in Sudan, Southern Africa, Afghanistan, United States were among the first to land. They underwent 2 weeks of mandatory institutional quarantine before being allowed to re-enter society.
On July 22, 2020 the daily curfew was relaxed slightly. We were to be home between 9pm and 5am.
On July 27, 2020 bodaboda riders were again able to transport people. Everyone was to wear masks and the drivers were to keep a log of their clients in order to facilitate contact tracing.
On September 27, 2020 churches were allowed to open with up to 70 worshippers per service.
On October 15, 2020 schools re-opened to students in their final year of studies. No student or teacher is allowed to use public transportation to reach school.
While people are finding it hard to survive without working at their normal pace, the gradual roll-back of our lockdown has gone a long way toward making life feel a little normal. And it’s kinda nice to be able to wash hands so often! However, community transmission is growing day by day in urban areas, with few people really taking things seriously. Rural areas have remained relatively normal though. Having the borders open is both exciting and nerve racking. We want to get back to work, but we desperately want to limit the spread of this virus.
It’s a tough balance. One that The Real Uganda takes seriously. We’re going to take the next 8 to 10 weeks to gauge our communities’ willingness to host international volunteers. If all goes well, we shall be ready to receive you by March 2021.
This page is being updated periodically – It is up to date as of January 5, 2020.
For timely updates on what’s happening in Uganda regarding the pandemic, please follow our Ministry of Health on twitter: @MinofHealthUG. Why not follow me too? @therealuganda.
No time to volunteer? The Real Uganda leads 7 day Culture-Adventure Tours.
While Uganda’s economy has been hit hard by this pandemic, our government’s strict directives have kept Uganda a safe travel destination.
Let’s start planning 2021 together! Why not fill in the box below and we’ll send you some information about our volunteer programs in Uganda.
Now go and wash your hands (and wear your mask properly)!