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Uganda’s president urges social distancing to prevent virus spread

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President Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday called on citizens to maintain social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the East African country.

Museveni made the appeal in a televised address in which he voiced the confidence that the nation will defeat the virus like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, rampant murders and polio. “We shall defeat this virus. I am here to lead the people’s war against this virus,” said Museveni. “I fought AIDS with ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, use Condoms) strategy. We did this by preaching just like we are doing right now. Same applies to Ebola. Even COVID-19, it is easy to defeat if we are serious,” he added. The president gave the address after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in his country. On Saturday, a 36-year-old Ugandan man who returned from Dubai aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight tested positive.

Museveni urged the public to avoid handshaking, wash hands often and regularly disinfect surfaces such as office tables.”Let us be tough so that we defeat this enemy and go back to our normal life. If we are lousy we shall really suffer,” Museveni said.The Ugandan president also advised caution over using public transport in order to prevent the spread of the virus.”The only remaining danger is public transport. I advise citizens to minimize the use of public transport,” he said, calling for body temperature checks at public transport means to screen out passengers with suspected symptoms.

To bar the COVID-19 pandemic out of the country, Museveni on Saturday announced the suspension of all flights, with necessary exemptions including for cargo flights, and the closure of all borders, beginning midnight on Sunday. On March 20, schools, universities and businesses like bars, discos, clubs were closed and public gatherings, including religious prayers, and sports and cultural events, were banned for 30 days.

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