Over the last week, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Uganda has risen from 54 to 79. 46 of those have been discharged after recovery from the infection. The nation is under lockdown up to May 05th and the president is expected to announce the measures of easing the lockdown, according to some media reports. Hopefully, Ugandans will be allowed to get back to business as many of them do not have food.
The 33 active cases are mostly truck drivers from the neighboring countries of Kenya and Tanzania. All truck drivers are tested for coronavirus at the borders before entering the country. However, to avoid congestion at the testing centers, thousands of drivers are left to proceed before their results are released. This has led to a number of them entering the country with the infection and making it hard to trace them afterward.
After several stopovers in trading centers, it is possible that they may be passing on the infection probably to hundreds of people who cannot be traced for testing. This has left the country divided over the issue of leaving borders open. The country cannot afford to remain under lockdown longer than this current one. The number of cases could be much higher than what is known.
A friend of mine who is a dentist recently had a man and his young son walk into his clinic for an extraction. They did not have enough money for the extraction, but that wouldn’t stop my compassionate friend from removing the tooth to save the boy. However, shortly after he had started, the father fainted and fell to the ground. It was determined that his blood sugar levels were abnormally low. Later when he had recovered, he said they eat a single meal daily and he was worried about the remaining part of the lockdown.
Since international flights were suspended, many people believe that a lockdown would not have been necessary as long as strict measures are put at the borders. Uganda has the capacity to deploy enough security personnel to man the porous borders other than leaving them in the city to enforce presidential directives. The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has documented 128 complaints of human rights violations during this period of the Covid-19 lockdown, and these have been committed by the security operatives.
The Residential District Commissioner (RDC) of Jinja district (our place of residence and work) was arrested on Friday last week on several charges, including human rights violations. It is alleged that he and his security team beat a businessman and looted his shop after finding him working after the curfew hours. The man, who sustained serious injuries from the incident, died a week after and family members refused to bury the body until the government looked into the matter.
RDC’s are representatives of the president in their respective districts. They’re currently in charge of giving travel permissions for essential workers and those seeking their services such as patients. This particular RDC had not been in office for several days even before his arrest, leaving hundreds of people stranded at the office daily.
In countries like Uganda, the biological expression “survival for the fittest” is true. There’s no particular way of doing things. The president has maintained that he can’t afford to close cargo transportation from neighboring countries, yet at the same time, Uganda can’t afford to feed or give financial help to its citizens. As long as the numbers of confirmed cases continue to rise, the country will remain under some sort of lockdown even when some sectors continue operating. But the most important thing now is to revise the means of allowing low-income earners get back to work. African countries have continued to defy predictions and the threat so far is still small.
We thank God for His protection. Yesterday I was thinking about how God protects and delivers His people. He will not let you land in a situation that He knows you cannot handle. When you look at where you have been, you will see that you have always managed to defeat the challenges you faced in one way or the other, no matter how long it took. You were not lucky, or wiser, or more powerful, or even better prepared than anyone else. God simply knew about your situation and He did something about it. That’s what I see as “survival for the fittest”…seemingly unable, but highly favored. And no weapon formed against you prospers.
We praise God for what He’s doing in all His people. Our project children and their families are doing well. The situation is not easy for anyone, but we continue to thrive. We hope that you are all good and healthy and will continue to glorify God in all circumstances.