By Harriet Asingura
Government has lifted the ban on public transport in Arua district- Northern Uganda. In a letter dated July 10 addressed to the Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Nahori Oya and also the chairperson Arua district COVID-19 task force, the State Minister for Health Robinah Nabbanja said, movement of buses, taxis and other forms of public transport should resume operations. She however added that the operators should observe the Covid-19 directives.
Nahori Oya the RCC Arua warned the bus and taxi operators against transporting passengers from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan since they are not allowed to enter into the country.
“Arua restriction on public transport has been lifted. The buses will travel but social distance must be observed. Taxi and bus operators should check the national IDs for especially people from DRC or South Sudan who want to go to Kampala. Do not carry people from across the border,” he warned.
He also warned buses from Arua travelling to Kampala not to make stopovers in Nebbi and Packwach since they are still on lock-down. Some residents are happy with the lifting the ban but are concerned about the high transport fares. Transport to Kampala by bus which was previously 30,000 and 50,000 shillings for ordinary and executive buses has increased to over 70,000 and 100,000 shillings respectively.
Musa Amin, the chairperson of Arua District Taxi Operators Association says they will discuss the possibility of reducing the transport fares before beginning full operations. Dr Philbert Nyeko the director of Arua regional referral hospital cautioned the public to be vigilant and adhere to the standard operating procedures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We know not all is open, it is not yet 100% safe. We still have to be very careful.” said Nyeko. Last month, President Museveni reopened public transport in 35 border districts which did not register Covid19 cases. He however pointed out districts like Arua, Rakai, Kyotera, Amuru, Buikwe and others which he said, were still under investigations because they reportedly had potential clusters of Covid19 infections.