Uganda introduces jail time for flouting COVID-19 rules
Uganda has introduced new penalties for offenders of the country's COVID-19 prevention procedures.
A statutory instrument dubbed Public Health (Control of COVID-19) rules 2021, signed by Health Minister Ruth Aceng, said that if one is found guilty of not wearing a facial mask while in public places, he or she will face a jail term of two months.
"Every person shall, at all times, while outside his or her place of residence, wear a facial mask," the instrument issued on Friday said.
The instrument also said that any COVID-19 positive individual who escapes from a designated isolation unit faces imprisonment for two months on conviction.
"Any person who aids a person who is confined in a place designated for isolation or quarantine for COVID-19, in escaping or attempting to escape from the place commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for two months," the rules added.
Individuals who convene public gatherings, hold weddings, open closed facilities such as bars and disco halls, break the 1900-hour curfew or breaks the transport ban also gets two months in jail on conviction.
The instrument, however, allows meetings of the Cabinet, Parliament, and local governments and judicial proceedings.
"For the enforcement of these rules, the police and the local authorities may enter any place or premises and may inspect any motor vehicle or engineering plant," the document said.
The new rules come at a time when the country is grappling with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministry of health figures as of Friday showed that the country has registered a cumulative total of 82,082 infections since March last year.