Police To re-Enforce COVID-19 SOPs.
Written by Amy on February 16, 2021
Police has announced that it will be re-enforcing COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures for public transport as issued by the Ministry of Health.
Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson says that starting this week, a taxi operator found carrying more than eight passengers, lacking sanitizers or not wearing mask as guided by the Ministry shall be arrested and charged under Section 71 of the Penal Code Act. (The Section States that any person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which he or she knows or has reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.)
They say a number of taxi operators and passengers have abandoned the standard operating procedures, which could facilitate the rise in numbers of COVID-19 infections that had recently gone down.
Onyango says that they shall also arrest the extra passengers. For purposes of social distancing, only two passengers, sitting apart from each other are allowed per row previously used by three. He adds that the passenger occupying the center position on the seat is the extra passenger and shall be arrested together with the taxi operators and the taxi shall be impounded. Likewise for Boda Bodas, the second passenger shall be arrested.
Word on the streets is that Covid-19 doesn’t exist in Uganda and locally many people wear the masks and follow other guidelines before the police or in specific facilities & buildings, and after that, the mask is removed. In Kalerwe, there’s a pedestrian road block by the police to stop those without masks to go through; locals are required to wear their masks almost forcefully, and if one doesn’t have, those selling the masks are just next to the police officers that carry out the operation.
Some say that the generally hot weather in Uganda makes wearing the masks even worse, and they do not mind not wearing it in public transport and constantly sanitizing. Many public places no longer have the temperature guns & when they do use them, it seems it’s for pretence and for the safety of those inside. There’s usually a facility for washing hands, but few care whether everyone entering is following the guidelines or not.
This leaves a question whether the police will be able to curb the violation of the Covid-19 guidelines as it says above since transport is only one of the sectors in the country. What about the schools, the communities in the outskirts of Kampala or the rural areas of Uganda where the locals go without masks everywhere and don’t have access to clean water for washing their hands? It is therefore believed that it’s an individual call to take care of oneself for the benefit of all.