Uganda Prisons suspends visits to inmates over coronavirus

The Uganda Prisons Services has suspended visits to inmates in all prisons around the country over the coronavirus pandemic.

Early this week, President Museveni issued a number of guidelines in which he banned all social, political, cultural and any other form of gatherings as a way of preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Consequently, the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr.Johnson Byahbashaija has directed that no

Visitor will be allowed in prisons for the next one month as a measure to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Please be informed that following the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, stop all visits to prisoners. Also note that no visitors of staff are allowed in the barracks. Treat this message with utmost urgency and importance it deserves,” the directive by Byabashaija reads in part.

In a separate directive, the Commissioner General of Prisons has also directed that no prisoner should be taken out of prisons as it has been the norm when they go to work on various farms.

“No inmate shall be taken out for labour whatsoever. Any officer in charge who contravenes any details in this directive shall take full responsibility for his/ her actions,” the message reads.

Regional Prisons commanders have been directed to monitor and enforce compliance of the same.

On Thursday, the Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe in a circular to all judges, judicial officers, magistrates and stakeholders said all proceedings in court are suspended for the next 32 days.

According to Katureebe’s circular, prisoners will not be allowed in courts because cases will not be heard to avoid to crowds and if possible, their cases will be handled via video conferencing.

Despite absence of any reported cases of coronavirus in the country, Uganda has been on high alert following cases in neighbouring countries including Kenya, Rwanda, DR.Congo and Tanzania.

Consequently, the Health Ministry has restricted travels to and from countries with a big number of reports coronavirus cases like Italy, US, UK, France, San Marino, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Malaysia, Germany, South Korea, China, Iran and Spain.

According to government, individuals traveling from those countries who insist on coming to Uganda must undergo quarantine for at least 14 days at their own cost.

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