The Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, on Thursday, announced that schools in the country which have been closed since March last year due to the global pandemic, will open back in January regardless of currently low vaccination uptake.
“Be informed that the schools will be opened in January and the rest of the economy will be opened in the same month,” said Yoweri Museveni.
“Vaccination is key to the reopening of the economy,” he said, even though fewer than three million jabs have been doled out for a population of roughly 45 million.
The citizens have shown reticence to get jabbed so far despite President Museveni stating that “right now 4.7 million vaccines” are available with a further 23 million doses expected by the end of the year.
“By the end of December 2021, 12 million people should have been vaccinated,” forecast the head of state, including vulnerable people and health and education workers.
The president urged Ugandans to “walk to the health centres or be carried there… go by motorcycle taxi, go by bicycle or go by vehicle and be immunised”.
“Even if you don’t come out for vaccination, we will open the schools and the economy,” he said.
“If anything goes wrong, the moral responsibility is yours.”
President Museveni, in September, lifted the bulk of Covid-related restrictions in the country, which has seen just over 3,000 deaths from the virus, but he left schools shuttered. This has made many teachers switch to other jobs in order to provide for their families.
Some teachers have even disclosed that they do not intend to return to the classroom amid doubts they would be able to make a living with many schools heavily in debt. Several institutions have converted to hotels or restaurants.