Coronavirus: Famous border market bringing occupants from three countries closes due to fears of COVID-19

Authorities on Uganda side inspecting one of unofficial crossing zone. Such crossing areas are commonly known as panya routes. There are countless panya routes connecting Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo. Hundreds of people move back and forth between the three countries everyday. Picture by Adidi Rashul | 13 May 2020

Authorities of Uganda’s Koboko district closed famous border market of Busia completely due to fears of out break of coronavirus disease. The market that brings together people from three neighbour countries of Uganda, DR Congo and South Sudan is closed for two consecutive market days, which is one week. Officials could keep it closed indefinitely, if it is necessary they say. Authorities argue there was possibility of coronavirus outbreak due to free movements of people between the (three) countries. Due to porous borders, nearly none of market traders and their customers is diagnosed for the disease. Authorities argue the occupants failed to comply with the partial lockdown restrictions like social distancing measures put in place by government. Both Resident District Commissioner and Local Council Chairperson say the closure is a preventative action to ensure populations are safe and healthy. Adidi Rashul is at the border, and brings the report.