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 successful in the global north. (The global south is doing what it can.)
As of September 18, 2021 there are 122,277 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Uganda. 2,000 of these cases are from the last 10 days. The cases are largely found in the Kampala Metropolitan Area. Our government tests approximately 4,000 people each day. We have registered 3,1,29 deaths (up 50 in the last days) and have vaccinated 1,777,685 people (up 300,000 in the last 10 days). We are managing our second wave of this virus.
Our numbers had remained low when compared with the wider world as our borders were closed to passenger travel from March to October, 2020. Since then, 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. However, against current COVID-19 restrictions to limit social gatherings to 200 people, our President invited over 4,000 people to his inauguration ceremony in mid-May. As this event coincided with the development of the Delta variant, case numbers sky-rocketed shortly after.
The government is, however, attempting to limit the number of cases coming from abroad:
As of October 1, 2020, all incoming travelers must show a negative PCR test (with the sample taken within the previous 72 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 72 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.
Effective from May 31, 2021, unvaccinated travelers starting their journeys from US, UK, UAE, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Tanzania are subject to another COVID test on arrival. They shall be transported to 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.
In response to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the Kampala Metropolitan Area, all schools, churches, bars, and public gatherings over 20 people are suspended.
The Real Uganda has re-opened its programs. Our staff and community members are cautiously excited to get back to work, showing off the successes and challenges of life in Uganda. We are currently scheduling volunteers for September 2021 and beyond.
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 in 2020:
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 by late 2021. This will represent the start of the 2021 academic year. Until then, families are relying on small home-schooling groups and very limited online learning. The Ministry of Education is holding lessons over radio as well.
Many Ugandans are finding it extremely hard to survive under our current restrictions. While it’s nice to be able to wash hands so often, urban dwellers who depend on daily earnings care more about feeding and educating their families. We are thankful that rural areas have avoided mass sickness throughout the pandemic.
This page is being updated periodically – It is up to date as of September 18, 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.
The Real Uganda’s COVID-19 Response brings practicals skills training to young rural women
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 2022 together! Fill in the box below and we’ll send you information to get you excited about volunteering in Uganda.
Now go and wash your hands (and wear your mask properly)!