The COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have reached Uganda in March 2020.
On 18 March, public gatherings including places of worship, pubs, weddings, music shows, rallies and cultural meetings were suspended for 32 days with immediate effect. Foreigners and Ugandans arriving in the country will be put under 14-day mandatory quarantine in hotels designated by the government that are in Entebbe, about an hour from Kampala, but the stay will be paid for by the citizens themselves. Since the mandatory quarantine began, about 40 travelers have been forced to pay up to US$840 to stay in the Central Inn hotel, a cost that is excessive for most Ugandans. Witnesses have said that people unable to pay the hotel fees have been forced to sleep in the lobby of the hotel, while others have been stranded at the airport. It is also not clear if the government is upholding basic health standards in the hotel quarantines. Travelers forced to stay in the hotel are reportedly forced to stay in close proximity to each other and the hotel staff, with some unable even to take a shower. One person posted on Facebook that no medical officer has visited the hotel and that staff have frequently entered and left the premises and worked without protective gear.
On 22 March, the first case of COVID-19 in Uganda was confirmed. The confirmed case was a 36-year-old male who had travelled to Dubai on 17 March 2020 for a business trip. On returning to Uganda on 21 March 2020 at around 2 am aboard Ethiopian Airlines, his temperature was said to be at 38.7 during the screening process at Entebbe Airport which prompted the health team at the airport to isolate him at the airport for further follow up. Another eight cases were confirmed by the ministry of health on 24 March and all were cases that came between 17 and 20 March aboard Ethiopian and Emirates flights some on board the same flight as the index case. The same day, all schools and universities were closed for 30 days.
On 23 March, the Health Department reported eight new cases, bringing the total up to nine. All the cases were Ugandans who had travelled back from Dubai.
On 25 March, public transport was suspended for 14 days. Only private cars with not more than three occupants are allowed on the road.
On 26 March, several reports emerged of security personnel beating Ugandans who were out on the streets. Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde said the government was concerned about the way police and other security agencies had begun treating Ugandans following President Museveni’s suspension of public transport and non-food markets in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. “There has been a misinterpretation of directives. I have been told that restaurants, arcades, salons, shops, supermarkets are being closed. That’s wrong. They should continue to operate as long as they are not in food markets. However, periodic markets that happen weekly are suspended. The exception is for those selling foodstuffs,” she said.
On 26 March, police and other security personnel were heavily deployed in all city suburbs, slums and along the streets to enforce the president’s directives. A few people who breached the government’s restrictions were arrested, most of whom were boda boda riders who defied the ban on public transport and carried passengers.
On 30 March, the President declared a nationwide curfew from 7 pm to 6:30 am, which would run for 14 days to prevent the spread of the disease.
In March there were 44 confirmed cases, all of whom remained active at the end of the month.
On 14 April, one case was recorded at the Eastern border of Uganda and Kenya. This was a case of a cargo transporter who had been in Kenya and brings the cumulative number of cases in Uganda as of 15 April to 55.
On 18 April, Uganda discharged 6 patients bringing the total to recoveries to 28.
On 20 April, 12 patients from Entebbe General Hospital recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 38.
On 21 April, Uganda confirmed 1 new case of coronavirus from 651 tested samples from truck drivers at the boarder points of entry.
On 26 April, Uganda registered 4 new cases of coronavirus out of the 1,578 tested samples from truck drivers at the boarder points entry.
On 28 April, all the 2,400 samples tested were negative.
On 29 April, Uganda got 2 positive new cases of coronavirus from 299 samples tested within the community and confirmed cases is 81.
On 30 April, 2 new cases were confirmed from 1,579 samples tested from the truck drivers from boarder points of entry. The 2 were both Kenyans who arrived from Busia and Malaba. Therefore, the total number of confirmed cases in Uganda increased to 83 by 30 April. During April there were 39 new cases and 52 recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 83 and the number of active cases at the end of the month to 31.
On 2 May, three new cases were confirmed in Uganda, where two from the 1,922 samples of truck drivers were from the boarder points of entry and one was from the 562 samples from the community. This brought the total confirmed cases in Uganda on 2 May to 88.
On 3 May, Uganda registered 1 new positive coronavirus case from the 2,729 samples tested of the truck drivers from the boarder entry points in Uganda and this brings the total number of confirmed cases in Uganda to 89.
On 4 May, Uganda got 8 new additional positive cases of coronavirus, 6 cases were from the 2,061 samples tested from truck drivers while 2 were from a rapid assessment survey conducted within the communities.
On 8 May, Uganda confirmed and registered 13 new coronavirus cases from 2,421 samples of truck drivers from the boarder points of entry in Uganda.
On 11 May, Uganda registered one new case of coronavirus out of the 2,296 samples from truck drivers at the boarder points of entry into Uganda. The new confirmed case was a 45 years old Ugandan male truck driver who arrived in Uganda from Juba via Elegu border point of entry. By 11 May, the total number of confirmed cases were 122.
On 18 May, Uganda registered 21 new cases of coronavirus from 1,071 tested samples of various entry points on 17 May. All the 21 cases were Ugandans who arrived from Elegu (17), Mutukula (3) and Maraba (1) entry points. On 18 May, Uganda confirmed 12 new coronavirus positive cases from 1,743 samples tested from different points of entry.
On 20 May, Uganda confirmed 4 new positive cases of coronavirus out of the samples that were tested on 19 May.
On 21 May, a presidential directive reduced the total number cases from 264 to 145 after removing foreign truck drivers who had left the country from the count.
On 22 May, 15 cases of coronavirus were confirmed from the 2,106 samples tested.
On 23 May, the country registered 23 new cases of the virus out of the 1,187 samples tested.
On 24 May, the ministry of Health Uganda registered 11 new cases of coronavirus out of the 1,084 samples tested from community and the people they got in contacts with.
On 25 May, Uganda registered 10 new cases of the virus out of the 1,189 samples tested.
On 28 May, 36 new coronavirus new cases we confirmed in Uganda out of the 2,230 tested samples.
During May there were 375 new cases and 61 new recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 458, the total number of recovered patients to 113, and the number of active cases at the end of the month to 345.
On 1 June, Uganda confirmed 40 new coronavirus cases from 1,319 samples tested by the ministry of health on 31 May 2020.
In June there were 431 new cases and 706 recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 889, the total number of recovered patients to 819, and the number of active cases at the end of the month to 70.
By 23 July, at least 12 people had been allegedly killed by security officers in apparent acts of excessive force when enforcing lockdown measures while the first death from COVID-19 was confirmed the same day.
There were 265 new cases in July, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 1154. There were three deaths during the month. The number of recovered patients increased by 209 to 1028, leaving 123 active cases at the end of the month.
There were 1818 new cases in August, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 2972. There were 29 deaths during the month, raising the death toll to 32. At the end of the month there were 1652 active cases.
The Lancet Commission data for the month of August sited Uganda as the top African country in suppressing COVID-19. Uganda ranked number 10 among 191 nations.
There were 5045 new cases in September, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 8017. The death toll more than doubled to 75. The number of recovered patients increased to 4260, leaving 3682 active cases at the end of the month.
There were 4478 new cases in October, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 12495. The death toll rose to 111. The number of recovered patients increased to 7503, leaving 4881 active cases at the end of the month.
There were 7,964 new cases in November, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 20,459. The death toll rose to 205. The number of recovered patients increased to 8,989, leaving 11,265 active cases at the end of the month.
Campaigning for the 2021 Ugandan general election was halted in Mbarara, Kabarole, Luwero, Kasese, Masaka, Wakiso, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo, Kampala City and Tororo, ostensibly for health reasons, on December 26, 2020.
Kirunda Kivejinja, 85, Minister of East African Community Affairs (since 2016), died of COVID-19 on 19 December. Former deputy prime minister Paul Orono Etiang died from COVID-19 on 31 December, aged 82. There were 14,757 new cases in December, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 35,216. The death toll rose to 251. The number of recovered patients increased to 11,733, leaving 23,232 active cases at the end of the month.
There were 4,390 new cases in January, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 39,606. The death toll rose to 325. The number of recovered patients increased to 14,229, leaving 25,052 active cases at the end of the month.
There were 761 new cases in February, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 40,367. The death toll rose to 334. The number of recovered patients increased to 14,989, leaving 25,044 active cases at the end of the month.
As a precautionary measure, on 18 March, President Yoweri Museveni banned all incoming and outgoing travel to specified highly affected counties for a period of 32 days. Schools have been closed and public gatherings banned.The president extended the lock down period for another 21 days on top of the 14 days. This lock down period continued from April 15 and will run up to May 5, 2020.
He made the announcement on Tuesday while addressing the nation on the status of coronavirus pandemic in Uganda.