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Three Markets in Kisoro Closed Over Failure to Observe SOPs

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Captain Peter Mugisha, the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner who also chairs the District COVID-19 Task Force told URN on Monday evening that the decision to close the markets was reached in their meeting early in the day.
Captain Peter Mugisha, Kisoro Resident District Commissioner
Kisoro District COVID-19 Taskforce has closed three markets citing non-compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs meant to contain the spread of COVID-19. The affected are Gatimba market, Old market and Rusiza market all in Kisoro municipality.  

Captain Peter Mugisha, the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner who also chairs the District COVID-19 Task Force told URN on Monday evening that the decision to close the markets was reached in their meeting early in the day.

He said that after the meeting, the District COVID-19 Taskforce moved to the affected markets and asked food vendors to stay away because of their failure to observe the SOPs amidst the escalation of COVID-19 infections.   He explained that there was congestion in the three markets, which couldn’t allow for the recommended physical distance to avoid infection. Mugisha says that most of the vendors have also not been wearing face masks and sanitizing their hands because they were no handwashing facilities.

He said the markets will remain closed until they sort themselves with the municipal authorities on the enforcement of the SOPs, adding that whoever attempts to return to the market without authorisation will be arrested. Nick Muneza, the Kisoro District Assistant Health Officer backed the decision to close the markets, saying that they have registered 362 positive COVID-19 cases since the start of this month. 

He revealed that 35 of the 362 cases are at Kisoro and Mutorere Hospitals while 327 are under home care management. He said 11 out of the 35 cases in the hospital are on life support. According to Muneza, they have also registered eight deaths related to COVID-19. The decision of the task force has not gone down well with the vendors. Fred Ndagije, a Matooke vendor at Gatimba market faults the task force for rushing to close the markets without giving them prior notice. 

He says that decision is likely to affect their survival since they don’t have alternative means to feed their families. Kellen Komugisha, another Matooke vendor in Rusiza market, says that she is likely to suffer a loss of Shillings 2 million because of the abrupt closure of the immediate, saying that she had just offloaded a truck of bananas from Ntungamo.

Komugisha wants the task force to help organize them instead of chasing them from the markets, which is their only source of survival. In his directives, president, Yoweri Museveni advised vendors to stay in the markets in strict observance of the SOPs.

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