Uganda closes border with South Sudan, fear Covid-19 spread

This is a picture of Lorries queuing up 3kilometers as they wait for the security in Uganda to open the one stop border post and allow them passage. Picture by Sebit Patrick, 22nd March 2020

Uganda and South Sudan have not yet reported any confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. But the two countries have employed measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus at different capacities.

In Uganda, all social gatherings including education (form the pre-primary to universities) religious gatherings (Churches and Mosques) and public rallies and conferences have been postponed for one month effective from Friday 20th March. Uganda believes the COVID-19 virus can spread faster when mass gatherings are entertained.

The South Sudan Uganda one stop border post also faces the wrath of the virus as travellers from the two countries have been denied entry and exit.

The Uganda’s presidential address on the COVID-19 banned all out-bound movement by Ugandans to the category one countries in terms of the epidemics.

“We, with immediate effect, ban all out-bound movement by Ugandans to or through these countries, again, for 32 days.  Foreigners going to those countries are free to do so provided they do not intend to come back within the prohibited time.” Reads part of the statement.

However, for Ugandans returning from any country including from the category one countries are free to enter Uganda but will be subjected to quarantine for some period of time

“We cannot stop Ugandans coming back from abroad, even from the category one countries that I read above.  However, such Ugandans will be put in a mandatory quarantine in a designated place but they will pay the cost for their institutional quarantine ─ food, etc.  If they want to avoid that inconvenience or cost, they can sit out the storm in the country of their temporary abode.”

Countries right now considered as category one in terms of the epidemics are: Italy, France, South Korea, China, USA, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway Austria, Malaysia, Pakistan and San Marino, where new and death cases are reported daily.

South Sudan on the other hand is also declared COVID-19 free. And efforts to contain the situation have also been put in place.

Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi Akol on a similar note issued a statement banning all social political and religious gathering in the country and schools halted for no less than 30 days effective Friday, 20th March 2020.

“Immediate closure of all institutions of education,; pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, technical schools, National Teachers’ Training institutes and the universities, this includes both private and public institutions.” Reads part of the statement.

by: Sebit Patrick, Freelance reporter