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Lock Down Uncertainty in Uganda

At five o'clock in the evening on March 18th, 2020, President Museveni announced schools, tertiary institutions, worship and recreation centres would close with immediate effect. This was in response to the growing Coronavirus scare that was in neighbouring countries of Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.

By early March 19th 2020 all schools had cleared out, and the traffic jam was unbeatable as parents struggled to get their children home. In the meantime, some church leaders took a stand grumbling that effecting this decree would lead to a shortage in the church collections. On the other hand, civil servant felt cheated because the government sought to quarantine teachers and students in their homes while parents were to continue working amidst the threat.

The ethical dilemma began to unfold. If children were home and parents had to continue working; what was the point in declaring a national lockdown. The disease would find its way home quite easily. Moreover, questions of the country's readiness for the lockdown emerged. How were people to feed, access basic needs and contain the financial demands in terms of bills? All these left people not sure of whether to accept the presidential directive or break all the rules.

With all this unresolved, the first case emerged in Masaka District. It is being kept low key but poses a significant threat to a country with minimal capacity to manage a disaster effectively.

- Linda Lilian, Uganda