Today 14/06/2021, is day 8 of the 42 day partial lockdown and curfew restriction. This implies that we still have 34 more days to the end of this partial lockdown. Last week was one of the most devastating, where the country registered the highest number of new cases. For instance, from the 8th – 11th June, a total of 6,466 people tested positive for the corona virus. The most affected districts with double figures were Kampala, Wakiso, Luwero, Masaka, Mukono, Mbarara, Kabarole, Rukungiri, Bunyangabo, Busia, Tororo, Bushenyi, Terego, Soroti, Gulu, Mbale, Kiryandongo, Butaleja, Jinja Mpigi, Kyenjojo, Pakwach, Arua, Budaka, Kabale, Iganga, Rukungiri, etc. The levels of hospitalisations across the country are getting overwhelmed due to the higher positive rates within the community. The greater Kampala area of Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, is still the epicentre due to the high population.
Our appeal as the Joint Security Agencies, is for Ugandans to know that the pandemic is still on and a large percentage of the population is still not fully vaccinated. The health experts have even indicated that there is a small percentage of break through infections, in which fully vaccinated people may still develop COVID-19. Many people are concerned about their children not going to school, about their jobs and local businesses. But the situation can be more disastrous if the transmission rates are not brought down. Therefore the best way to fight the virus is for us to continue social distancing, wearing masks, and restricting movements as much as possible.
As we await the statutory instrument on the fine structure from the Ministry of Finance, we continue to enforce the tight restrictions especially on the Inter-district travels, and adherence to the lockdown restrictions on gathering, mask less movements in public places, specific live events such as weddings and funerals, which are perfect breeding grounds for the virus.
In our enforcement operations during the week, we tightened restrictions on inter-district movements. In the beginning, taxi operators on both sides of the district, were ferrying people to the border crossing points, where passengers could walk on foot and cross into the neighbouring district, then board to the KMP area. This habit was common at Lugazi – Mukono, Njeru-Jinja, Kyotera- Masaka, Ibanda-Mbarara, Mpigi – Kampala, Wakiso – Luweero and Kakerenge centre etc. We, however, countered them. A total of 1429 suspects were arrested, 376 motor vehicles were impounded and 3,655 motor cycles were also impounded.
Other areas of impunity and disregard for the health SOPs and protocols were in bars. We conducted several raids and will still continue to do so, like we did at the Golf Course Centre. We also conducted raids on pharmacies that had illegally acquired government vaccines for their selfish gains for profit at the expense of Ugandans. At least 7 suspects were arrested on reliable intelligence information that stolen government COVID-19 vaccines were recovered from the Wandegeya complex that houses First Pharmacy, True Care Medical Centre and Modern Diagnostic Laboratory. These include; Seremba Festo, Mushabe Festo, Lyanzi Deogratius Arnold, Cherop Nelson, Tayebwa Viola, Sekasi Julius and Nakadya Julian who were arrested while administering the vaccine to their clients. Upon search at the pharmacy, over 803 Astra Zeneca vaccines were recovered, thousands of empty virals supposed to be returned to government health facilities for accountability, over 1000 Ministry of Health vaccination cards, consent forms, Kiswa Health Centre and Naguru Health Centre Stamps, Test tubes etc.
An additional 5 suspects were arrested from Victoria Hospital and these included; Karuhanga Perez, Dusabe Rosemary, Linda Plagya, Mutungi Martha and Kushemererwa Ester, who were also arrested, while administering vaccines. Upon search, 62 vaccines were recovered, test tubes, vaccination cards and consent forms. The operation is ongoing and the suspects are being processed for court on charges of being in unlawful possession of government stores, conspiracy and theft.
We are also investigating theft of oxygen cylinders at Mbale Referral Hospital, after one of their oxygen cylinders was recovered at Health for Life General Clinic and Laboratory. The Deputy Director of the Clinic Cherotich Jobs was arrested for further interrogation.
Also arrested for negligent acts likely to spread COVID-19, are the Ndibalekera Juliet, the Head Teacher of Yana Day and Boarding Primary School in Kinubi Cell, Hoima District together with 5 other teachers namely; Nankabirwa Cissy, Kyaligonza Benard, Ntebenkere Aklo, Naisito Ronald and Mukasa Fredrick, while illegally conducting lessons for 11 pupils despite the ban on schools.
Such behaviours speaks volumes about human nature, where despite the devastating situation, there are people who still lead reckless lives and ignore the harsh reality we are facing. We shall deal with such COVID-19 offenders and defaulters decisively, by issuing fines, penalties and further sanctions where necessary.
As Ugandans we must defeat the pandemic by working together, to help minimize COVID-19 transmission and support compliance to the Presidential guidelines and Ministry of Health SOPs.
CP Fred Enanga
14th June 2021