Africa-Press – Uganda. Government is considering blocking unvaccinated public servants from offices after soaring cases of infections were registered in the past weeks.
The move comes at a time when government has decided to fully reopen the economy. Over the last two weeks, cases of new infections have gone up with more than 50 people dead.
Dr Chris Bayromunzi, the minister of ICT and National Guidance, also the government spokesperson, said measures are being taken to control the situation.
“We are seeing spikes in infections in offices and even outside. We shall continue with earlier decision announced by the president to open up, but strengthen the messages on observing SOPs, vaccination, but also institute vaccine mandate in some of places like the offices to say that if you have not been vaccinated, you cannot access certain offices,” Dr Baryomunsi said.
The Ministry of Health last week declared that Uganda is now in the third wave of the pandemic and urged the population to observe the SOPs and ensure that they go for vaccination.
Government has so far vaccinated 12 million Ugandans out of the targeted 21 million.
Dr Baryomunsi said the national taskforce will soon sit to make a decision on the next line of action if infections continue to soar up.
“When we meet as the national taskforce we could explore other possibilities but I can’t rule out even reducing the numbers of public servants coming to offices like during the lockdown when we were at 20 percent,” he said.
Ministries such as finance, planning and economic development, have already moved ahead to ban those that have not been vaccinated from accessing the offices.
Mr Ramadhan Ggoobi, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, and secretary to the Treasury, said: “For us we issued a notice that if you have not been vaccinated, you cannot access the ministry offices whether you are a staff or not because scientists have advised that vaccination does offer some level of protection.”
Ms Ketty Lamaro, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, said while they have not cut down the number of staff working from office, the ministry has banned physical meetings.
“We have not registered new cases except those that were reported during the Christmas break, but we shall establish that tomorrow (today) when we get back to office. We are still working at full capacity except we have banned meetings. Our meetings are now on zoom,” she said.
Mr Aggrey David Kibenge, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Gender, labour and social development, said majority of the staff have been vaccinated.
“It is true we have been getting increasing number of staff testing positive, but we have not yet cut the number of staff working from office. What we do is when someone tests positive, we ask them to remain home and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines until the person has recovered. Right now it is personal consciousness which we emphasise,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokesperson in the Ministry of Health, said advised government MDAs to observe the standard operating procedures.
“Covid-19 is everywhere so what we advise the ministries to do is to observe SOPs and tell those who test positive to isolate for at least seven days. We have not issued any directives to them to cut down the number of staff working from offices,” he said.