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 (and even third) wave of viral spread. Daily habits are simply not what they used to be.

Face masking and social distancing has become our new normal. Vaccine programs are happening all over the world!

As of May 17, 2021 there are 43,094 confirmed cases of COVID19 in Uganda. We’re logging around 100 new cases each day. The cases are largely found in Kampala and at border crossings. Our government tests approximately 2,000 – 3,000 people each day. We have registered 350 deaths, have vaccinated 466,823 people, and have just 121 active cases in hospital. All said, not too bad at all.

Our numbers have remained low when compared with the wider world as our borders were closed to passenger travel from March to October. It has been up to Ugandans themselves to limit the spread of this virus within Uganda. Hand washing, face masking, and social distancing are highly encouraged and even mandated in many enclosed places.

The government is also doing it’s part to limit the spread:

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. This has proven to be an effective way to keep the virus from freely entering Uganda. All outgoing travelers must provide a negative PCR test (with the sample taken within the previous 120 hours) in order to leave Uganda. Those testing positive must self-isolate at their cost for 7 days. A negative test is required in order to leave Uganda after the isolation period.

As of May 1, 2021, all unvaccinated travelers starting their journeys from USA, UK, UAE, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, or Tanzania must submit to an additional COVID test on arrival. They shall be transported to and quarantined at a government designated site for 3-6 hours, pending test results. Those testing negative are allowed to travel into Uganda at that time. Those testing positive shall be quarantined for 2 weeks at a government quarantine site. All costs are paid by the traveler.

As Uganda’s daily case numbers have remained low over the last 6 months, The Real Uganda has decided to re-open it’s programs to international volunteers and travellers. Our staff and community members are excited to get back to work, showing off the successes and challenges of life in Uganda.  

The Real Uganda offers 2 – 12 week locally-led communty-based volunteer programs.

Check out this review of how our government 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.

A phased return to school for older students is ongoing. This will culminate in a grand re-opening of all primary and secondary schools on August 9, 2021.

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 especially nice to be able to wash hands so often. Rural areas remained relatively normal throughout the pandemic. Having our programs re-open is exciting – we hope we’re not too rusty!

This page is being updated periodically – It is up to date as of May 17, 2021.

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 and 2022 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)!

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