Police in Mbarara and the greater Rwizi region has cracked down on buses, taxis and motorcycles for flouting the recent presidential directive suspending all public transport for a space of two weeks.
The measure was adopted in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. So far, a total of 20 individuals have tested positive for the highly contagious novel Coronavirus, just six days after Uganda confirmed its first case of the disease.
While many supported the measure, some cyclists and drivers disregarded the directive claiming they had no other option to survive and went to work
Rwizi region police spokesperson, ASP Samson Kasasira, confirmed that several vehicles had been netted in a region-wide operation to enforce the directive, including a Star Link bus, Registration Number UBB 184L. The bus driver was arrested for defying presidential orders.
Also seized were two taxis, with their drivers, both in Mbarara district.
11 people were also apprehended in social spaces like bars and pork joints, in contravention of an earlier directive shutting down such spaces for 32 days.
In Rwampara, seven motorcycles, six minibuses, one Toyota wish and 18 bicycles were impounded; in Kazo district 12 motorcycles were impounded; 1 motorcycle was seized in Ibanda, while in Isingiro district, 16 motor vehicles and 9 motorcycles were impounded.
The clampdown on public means of transportation saw dozens of passengers, laden with luggage, walking long distances to villages in Ibanda, Bushenyi, Sheema, Kamwenge and other districts.
Kasasira defended the operation, saying that the police’s vigilance would guard against the further spread of the novel Coronavirus in Uganda.
“Let’s all take up the fight against COVID-19,” he urged, adding: “Report any one that you find engaging in risky behavior that could spread the disease in your area.”
Kasasira says the suspects will be charged, under Section 171 of the Penal Code Act, of negligent acts likely to spread infection of disease, an offence punishable by 7 years’ imprisonment.