World, Africa

Uganda parliament to close for 2 weeks amid COVID-19 surge

Official terms move 'mitigating measure' to prevent infection spread; parliamentary buildings to be disinfected

Godfrey Olukya   | 23.06.2021
Uganda parliament to close for 2 weeks amid COVID-19 surge FILE PHOTO

KAMPALA, Uganda

The Ugandan parliament will remain closed for two weeks amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases, officials said.

In a letter to the members of parliament on Tuesday, Waiswa Henry Yoweri, an official at the Office of the Clerk to Parliament, said the unicameral legislature will close from June 28 till July 11 as a "mitigating measure."

"The Parliament of Uganda like the rest of the country has been affected by the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with a positivity rate of 17.1%," it said, adding that parliamentary buildings will be disinfected during this period.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, Chris Obore, the parliament's director of communication and public affairs, refuted media reports which said as many as 200 lawmakers had tested positive.

He said parliament hosted three major functions in the recent past, and in line with health protocols, the Health Ministry collected samples of those who attended the events which besides legislators, included security personnel, journalists, and parliament staff.

"Out of that entire sample size, 40 people tested positive for the first event, 50 for the second, and 70 for the third. 14 MPs tested positive on the whole," the statement read.

He added that the closure of parliament is a precautionary measure taken for the safety of everyone.

So far, 73,401 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the East African country of 45 million. At least 714 people have died.

Vaccinations started in March this year and over 834,721 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered to date.

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