Uganda vows to prosecute drivers caught flouting COVID-19 rules
FILE PHOTO: Travelers queue to buy bus tickets at the Namirembe Bus Park in Kampala, Uganda. /Getty Images

FILE PHOTO: Travelers queue to buy bus tickets at the Namirembe Bus Park in Kampala, Uganda. /Getty Images

Drivers in Uganda have been put on notice that they will face prosecution if found guilty of violating COVID-19 health protocols during the festive season.

The Ugandan government has blamed the steady rise in confirmed cases in the country on complacency by citizens and blatant violation of COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). The transport sector was identified as one of the areas in which violations occur enabling the spread of the virus.

"All offenders who flout COVID-19 SOPs will be handed over to CID for prosecution and we shall enforce these guidelines in accordance with the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 as amended,” said Commissioner of Police Basil Mugisha.

Public transport vehicles in Uganda are currently supposed to operate at 50 percent capacity to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Private vehicles, on the other hand, are restricted to transporting only four people regardless of their size. Additionally, all passengers in public and private vehicles are supposed to wear face masks.

Mugisha added that the police will arrest all drivers violating traffic rules on both major and access routes.

24-hour checkpoints will also be set up at specific locations along highways, Mugisha said, noting that individuals who fail to stop at checkpoints or obstruct police officers will automatically be detained.

The warnings came ahead of the festive season during which several people are expected to travel to enjoy the festivities. However, local and international health officials have cautioned people against this due to the threat of spreading the coronavirus. There is also the danger of a rise in road accidents during this period due to various factors among them reckless driving, speeding and driving unroadworthy vehicles.

As of December 13, Uganda has reported 27,532 confirmed coronavirus cases and 221 deaths.

(With input from Uganda Media Center)

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