Fellow Countrymen, Countrywomen and Foreign Residents in Uganda, I have come back, the third time, to talk to you about the Ebola outbreak that we have in the districts of Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kassanda, Kagadi and Bunyangabu. We now have 58 total confirmed cases and 19 deaths. So far, 20 people have recovered from Ebola.
Last time, I spoke to you about some people that were difficult, lying to us, hijacking dead bodies and moving from district to district including coming to Kampala City. This movement and deceit has not changed and the risk of spreading Ebola to other parts of the country remains very high. Ebola, as you know, is highly infectious and deadly. It greatly affects the economy and tourism industry. If not adequately controlled, Ebola may spread beyond Uganda.
Ebola cases have continued to increase in the communities of Mubende and Kassanda districts. You have heard about the 3 individuals that escaped from Mubende and came to Kampala – Twagiira Yezu, his wife – Mutoni and another person from Kassanda. There is also alot of movements of people into Mubende and Kassanda because of the following reasons: Mining purposes, family relationships, culture and traditions. We also know that some people move out of these districts to seek treatment from traditional healers and witchdoctors.
This has led to the spread of Ebola to other districts i.e. Kyegegwa, Kagadi and Bunyangabu. Given the gravity of the problem and to prevent further spread and, protect lives and livelihoods, Government is taking extra measures that require action from all of us. All these measures shall start with immediate effect and will last 21 days because the incubation period for Ebola is up to 21 days.
Now, therefore, I direct as follows:
- Movements into and out of Mubende and Kassanda Districts is prohibited.
- Movement from Kassanda to Mubende and vice versa is prohibited.
- There will be Curfew in Mubende and Kassanda Districts starting from 7:00pm to 6:00am.
- Movement of persons within their respective district (Mubende and Kassanda) is allowed.
- Public transport, private transport and Boda-bodas are NOT permitted to move.
- ONLY Cargo vehicles, vehicles supporting the response to Ebola outbreak, authorized Government vehicles and Security vehicles are permitted to move BUT SHALL NOT TAKE PEOPLE IN OR OUT OF MUBENDE AND KASSANDA.
- Transit vehicles (public and private) crossing through Mubende and Kassanda Districts are permitted to move but with police clearance and shall NOT STOP TO PICK OR DROP PEOPLE.
- Cargo trucks with only a driver and one turn-boy shall be allowed to deliver goods and may carry goods out of the districts but shall not carry passengers.
- All cargo shall be delivered to the districts of Mubende and Kassanda during the day. Cargo vehicles shall be required to leave by 5:00pm and the operators will not sleep in any of the two districts. Anyone who sleeps in the districts shall remain there for 21 days.
- All seasonal markets (butale bw’ Omubuulo) are suspended.
- The Mines in Mubende will remain open for people in Mubende and the mines in Kassanda will remain open for the people in Kassanda. No crossing over. In addition, daily temperature checks, hand washing and symptom screening must be enforced by the proprietors.
- Schools should remain open and learners should be allowed to move when in school uniform. Temperature of all learners, teachers and nonteaching staff should be monitored on a daily basis.
- Any School absence must be reported immediately to the response teams and investigated.
- All children, teachers and non-teaching staff who have had contact with a person who has signs and symptoms of Ebola should not go to school.
- All places of worship shall be closed.
- All bars, places of entertainment, bibanda, bidandali, gyms, and saunas shall be closed.
- All burials (whether Ebola or not) shall be conducted by Safe Burial Teams during this period.
Samples will be taken from all dead bodies and tested for Ebola.
- Government should intensify public health awareness after fully understanding community issues, culture and traditions.
- Ministry of Health must intensify surveillance and contact tracing in the two districts to pick out all possible cases.
- Enforce hand washing/sanitizing using alcohol hand rub in both districts.
- Ministry of Health will secure and deploy twenty (20) ambulances from various districts and Regional Referral Hospitals to the two districts for continuity of essential health services.
- Ministry of Health will mobilize and deploy 10 vans for transportation of health workers in the two districts.
- Health workers with vehicles shall be given permits by the RDCs to move only within their districts.
- Ministry of Health will provide PPEs to all registered health facilities (private and public) in the two districts.
Countrymen, Country women and Foreign Residents, these are temporary measures to control the spread of Ebola. We should all cooperate with the authorities so that we bring this outbreak to an end in the shortest time possible.
In regards to essential health services, Ambulances, vans and medicines have been deployed to support continuity of other health services. Those who are sick should use the ambulances to access the hospitals and health workers should use the vans. The Minister for Health and other authorities will provide additional guidance on these directives.
Lastly, for Kampala City, while the two cases that tested positive came from Mubende District and are regarded as Mubende cases, because of the presence of contacts of these two cases and the risks of infection, I have directed a full mobilization of Kampala City into a response mode. This should cover Kampala Metropolitan area.
The Minister for Health and other authorities will provide additional guidance on these directives.
I thank you and wish you well.
Yoweri K. Museveni