UGANDA: FIRST CORONA VIRUS CASE REGISTERED AS THE NATION SHUTS WORSHIP CENTERS AND PUTS TRAVEL BAN

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Empty and Closed St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Gulu

“We have all the information about the 84 passengers but my appeal to them is if you are called upon, please cooperate for easier monitoring”

“We said we shall not allow in people to come in either walking or cycling. All those will not be allowed through gazetted centers and even the hidden ones. We are going to deploy forces in all these places both gazetted and un-gazetted”

GULU-UGANDA: A thirty-six year-old Ugandan man has tested positive for the deadly corona virus (COVID-19), making him the first victim in the country since the outbreak of the disease in China in December 2019.

This was announced to the nation by Uganda Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Acheng on Sunday March 22 shortly after the third nationional address by the President, General Yoweri Museveni in record five days on the dangers the pandemic can cause to the nation.

The hitherto un named man is a resident of Kibuli, Kakungulu zone in the Capital City Kampala who had travelled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 17, 2020 on a business trip.

He returned to Uganda alongside 83 other passengers aboard an Ethiopian Airlines that touched down at Entebbe International Airport on Saturday March 21 at 02.00 am local time (23.00 GMC).

He went through the mandatory screening for all the passengers disembarking at the airport and the medics discovered his temperature was abnormally high; and was immediately isolated and further tests confirmed he had the virus.

“We have all the information about the 84 passengers but my appeal to them is if you are called upon, please cooperate for easier monitoring”, minister Acheng told the nation.

Countries with the highest numbers of affected includes Italy, France, South Korea, China, USA, United Kingdom, Netgherland, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway, Austria, Malaysia, Pakistan and San Marino.

The pandemic has drained Africa Gross Domestic Product (GDP) worth US$ 29 billion.

During the third presidential nation address on Sunday, Mr. Museveni announced the closure of all borders except for cargo trucks and ban of all passenger flights in and out of Uganda effective midnight local time (09.00 GMT) on Sunday.

“We said we shall not allow in people to come in either walking or cycling. All those will not be allowed through gazetted centers and even the hidden ones. We are going to deploy forces in all these places both gazetted and un-gazetted”, says President Museveni.

On Wednesday March 18, 2020, Mr. Museveni announced the first measures of controlling the pandemic which included the closure of all public places including places of worship, all learning institutions, events and meetings of more than ten people effective Friday March 20, 2020 for thirty-two days.

This pronouncement forced all learning institutions to close prematurely and transport fare from Kampala to Gulu jumped from UGX 20,000.00 (about US$ 5.00) up to 50,000.00 (about US$ 13.00). A 0.5-kilogram packet of table salt in Gulu jumped from UGX 700.00 (about US$ 0.19) to UGX 2000.00 (about US$ 0.55).

On Saturday March 21, 2020 President Museveni convened a national prayer where he invited all the leaders of different denominations to State House Entebbe. The interdenominational prayer was led by the newly installed Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rt. Rev. Stephen Mugalu Kazimba.

Almost all the religious leaders who profess the Christian faith quoted the book of Second Chronicles, chapter seven verses thirteen to fifteen which reads:-

“I might cause there to be no rain or I might send insects to eat your food plants or I might send bad illness (pestilence) to my people. Then my people who are called by my name should be sorry. They should try to find me and they should stop doing the wrong things that they have done. Then I will hear them from heaven and I will hear them from heaven and I will forgive their sins and I will make their country better again. Now I will be watching this place and I will be listening to the prayers from here”.

On Sunday March 22, 2020, 45-year old evangelist at Christ Church, Church of Uganda, Mr Morris Watmon, gave a sermon to a five-member congregation at Holy Trinity Church, Laliya sub-parish where he thanked President Museveni for convening the national prayer and for advising Ugandans to remain indoors.

“President Museveni is correct to convene the prayer. I think God must have revealed to him to do it, just like that King of Nineveh in the bible (Jonah 3:7) who bowed down and removed his royal robes in repentance after hearing God’s message from prophet Jonah. God heard his prayers and spared his people”

Mr. Watmon, also known as “Lapoya pa Yesu” (Jesus lunatic) says he his aspiring to be the Mayor of yet-to be declared Gulu City because all the current leaders of the church of Christ have abdicated their role of leading His flock when he instructed apostle Peter (John 21:16) to ‘keep’ and ‘feed’ his flock.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, Rt. Rev. Johnson Gakumba instructed all the priests in the Diocese to reorganize the Christians in their parishes in prayer groups of ten instead of the central parish church halls. 

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