Children Arise has a family living and working in Uganda. The Banman's have been watching the COVID-19 pandemic from there and comparing how Uganda has managed the situation in relation to Canada. It turns out, both countries have managed the situation well and are minimizing cases and deaths.
In Canada, it seems that federal and provincial policies and practices have effectively flatten the COVID-19 infection rate. Canada has a mature national healthcare system and moved to restrict movements fairly early in the timeline. In addition, authorities established clear and consistent guidelines for the population based on WHO data and Canadian health and scientific recommendations. Adding to Canada's success may be a generally compliant and cooperative population.
As of mid May, a few Canadian provinces are beginning to relax restrictions allowing the public to slowly normalize social behavior. In British Columbia (the Banman's home province) COVID infections are trending downward so citizens have been allowed to start increasing social group up to six people. British Columbian's have coined the term "double the bubble" as they slowly broaden their social connections.
Below is a breakdown of the essential milestones as experienced in Canada. Some events are specific to the province of British Columbia as each province has jurisdiction over many of the restrictions applied.
As with most countries, Uganda's strategy has been to lockdown the population and try to prevent infections through social distancing. The government and health authorities there acted early and fully and this seems to have minimized spread dramatically. With a similar population to Canada in a small fraction of the space spread could have been relentless but has generally been contained.
Uganda's has a national healthcare system but this system fails in many respects to meet the basic needs of the population. In the event that COVID-19 was to become active inside the country, it would likely overwhelm hospitals and staff quickly.
Thankfully the pandemic has been taken very seriously and Uganda acted early to protect their population. Schools were closed causing students to migrate back into their villages and reducing city populations. Large gatherings were stopped early as well. Even city trasport (taxis and bodas) were restricted causing the city to quiet.
Below is the Ugandan timeline along side that of the pandemic as a whole and Canada. It seems that the Ugandan government has done well in safeguarding its people.
First COVID-19 Case in China
First suspected human transmission in Wuhan
Chinese doctor Li Wenliang warns other medical staff about a disease he is seeing that resembles SARS
China closes wet market in Wuhan
WHO issues first health warning
China confirms it is dealing with a new disease
Canadian healthcare authorities advise travelers to be aware of a health issue in Wuhan but does not advise restricted travel
WHO issues guidelines recommending that no restrictions on travel to or from China are required
COVID-19 cases begin to appear outside China
Uganda starts screening at airport
WHO confirms human-to-human transmission of COVID-19
China locks down the city of Wuhan (11 million people)
China locks down most large cities in Hubei province
First COVID-19 case detected in Canada
Canada implements security and control measures at airports
Canada issues advisory against travel to Wuhan
WHO declares a global health emregency
COVID-19 was officially named
Ministry of Health clarifies that there are no detected cases of COVID-19 in Uganda
Canada confirms its first COVID-19 death
WHO declares a global pandemic
Travel no longer recommended to Canadians
Canada advises against all non-essential foreign travel
Province of British Columbia imposes restrictions:
- Strict social distancing implemented
- Stay at home recommended where possible
- Gatherings restricted
- Care homes isolated from guests
- Increased restrictions on air travel
Canada closes borders to foreign national (except US)
Border with US restricted to trade supply lines
Uganda government implements a number of restrictions on the public:
- Religious gathering
- Large weddings or burials
- Ban on COVID level 1 travel
- Closure of discos, bars, etc
All schools closed (primary, secondary, and tertiary)
Uganda government closes retail shops:
- Stops all public transport
- Closes all retail shops except food sellers
Uganda confirms its first case on COVID-19
All returning travellers are forced to quarantene for 14 days
Canada announces a notable shift from travel related infections to community transmission
Uganda government loses borders and airports except for cargo
China initiates a travel ban (the last country to do so)
COVID-19 modelling is released
Uganda government clarified and defined public restrictions:
- Restrict all public movement other than local food purchases or approved travel (to be reviewed on April 14)
- Food markets may provide delivery of goods
- A number of declarations of essential services such as medical and infrastructure
- Cargo within and in transit to and from neighboring countries
- Declared that utilities should not be disconnected during this time
The lockdown was extended to May 5th
The lockdown was extended to May 19th
British Columbia reopening plans are revealed
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