Emergency A. Nature and description of emergency COVID-19 measures taken

Uganda registered a first case of COVID-19 on 21 March 2020.  By this time, the country had already started implementing a range of protective measures and continued to do so with necessary modifications depending on the level of the threat posed by the pandemic. This section of the report highlights the nature and description of the emergence of COVID-19 measures that were adopted in Uganda.  The report then proceeds with Sections B and C where it briefly discusses the democracy and human rights issues associated with the said measures and their implementation. It ends with section D where concluding observations are made.

Substantive legislation

Regulation of COVID-19 was situated within Uganda’s legal and policy framework on disaster risk management including pandemics. This framework includes the constitution, the National Disaster Preparedness Policy as well as the Public Health Act as highlighted below.

  1. The 1995 Constitution

    The primary law governing emergency responses to disasters in Uganda is the 1995 Constitution which, under Objective XXIII of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy (NODPSP), requires that in the event of an outbreak of “any hazard or disaster arising out of natural calamities or any situation resulting either in the general displacement of people or general disruption of normal life” “the State shall institute an effective response machinery” for dealing with it. In extreme cases where a natural disaster threatens the country’s security or economic life, the Head of State in consultation with the Cabinet, may by proclamation, declare a state of emergency (Article 110[b]).

    The Constitution also specifically provides for the supportive role of the country’s defence forces which are required to cooperate with the civilian authorities in emergency situations and in cases of natural disasters (article 2019) in addition to the establishment of a Disaster Preparedness and Management Commission (article 249).

  2.  The National Disaster Preparedness Policy, 2010

    The above Constitutional framework is buttressed by the National Disaster Preparedness Policy which was adopted in 2010. This Policy lays down the procedures for government’s response depending on the nature of the emergency.  In the case of pandemics, the Policy vests leadership of the development of appropriate preparedness and response plans with the Ministry of Health (Section 2.1.7). In executing its mandate, the Ministry of Health (MoH) is  supported by other institutions namely: the Office of the Prime Minister, specifically the Department of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management; the Ministry of International Affairs on issues of immigration and policy; the Ministry of Defence and specifically the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF); the Ministry of Information and National Guidance; the Ministry of Local Government as well as District Local Governments[1].

  3. The Public Health Act (Chapter 281)

    The principal law governing health matters in Uganda is the Public Health Act, Chapter 281 of the laws of Uganda. The Act among other things empowers the Minister of Health to issue a statutory order to: a) declare any disease as a notifiable disease; b) declare application of certain provisions of the Act to the notifiable disease; and c) define the extent of coverage in terms of space, of the application of identified provisions of the Act (section 10). Furthermore, the Minister is authorized to make legally binding rules on a range of issues including duties of medical practitioners, heads of families or other persons having the care of or in attendance of the sick, duties of local authorities among others (section 11). 

    Under section 27, the Minister is empowered to make rules for the containment of infectious diseases on matters such as: closure or limitation of activities of ordinarily mass institutions and events such as schools, places of worship and entertainment; establishment, maintenance and management of isolation and quarantine facilities including  hospitals, convalescent homes or other institutions for the accommodation or treatment of persons suffering from or who have recently suffered from any infectious disease; handling of dead bodies of patients of such diseases; preventive measures to be observed among others. 

    Furthermore, under section 36, the Minister is empowered to issue a statutory order for the purpose of preventing the introduction of an infectious disease in Uganda for instance by regulating, restricting or prohibiting entry into Uganda of persons of any specified class or description or from any specified country, locality or area. They could also condition entry into Uganda to medial examination, detention, quarantine, disinfection, vaccination, isolation or medical surveillance. 

    • The response measures adopted in response to COVID-19
      In keeping with the National Disaster Preparedness Policy, the entire arsenal of measures adopted by Uganda in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were prescribed by the country’s Ministry of Health.  These measures were spelt out in the different Statutory Instruments issued by the Minister of Health in the exercise of her powers under sections 10, 27 and 36 of the Public Health Act (Chapter 281).

      In implementing these measures, the Ministry of Health was supported by other institutions provided for in the National Disaster Preparedness Policy, such as the UPDF whose involvement has been critiqued for being a domination, rather than supportive, leading to a conclusion that the country’s entire response to the COVID-19 pandemic was a militarized one.

Measures issued by the Ministry of health:

  1. Public Health (Notification of COVID-19) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 45 of 2020)

    The Public Health (Notification of COVID-19) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 45 of 2020) was issued by the Minister of Health on 17 March 2020 with the purpose of declaring COVID-19 a notifiable disease under section 10 of the Public Health Act. Furthermore, the Order invoked the application of relevant provisions of the Public Health Act to COVID-19. These include Section 11 which mandates the Minister of Health to make appropriate rules in relation to a notifiable disease; Part IV on prevention and suppression of infectious diseases providing for among others powers of medical officers and local authorities, duties of persons infected or suspected to have been infected with a notifiable disease, owners of premises where such persons may have stayed as well as operators of vehicles. The Order also invoked section 36 of the Act which authorizes enforcement of precautions at Uganda’s borders. The Order would remain in force until its enforcement would be communicated by the Minister of health (para 3).

  2. Public Health (Prevention of COVID-19) (Requirements and Conditions of Entry into Uganda) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 46 of 2020)

    The Public Health (Prevention of COVID-19) (Requirements and conditions of Entry into Uganda) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 46 of 2020) was issued by the Minister of Health on 13 March 2020 and entered into force on 17 March 2020. This Order introduced a requirement for the mandatory medical examination for COVID-19, of all persons arriving in Uganda, with or without permission to enter Uganda. In the exercise of their powers, medical officers were further authorized by this Order, to enter upon or board any vehicle, aircraft or vessel arriving in Uganda and examine any person onboard the vehicle, aircraft or vessel (para 3) in which case operators of such means of propulsion were mandated to give medical officers all the required assistance (para 7); isolate or quarantine COVID-19 patients; and to decontaminate or cause decontamination of vehicles, aircraft or vessels believed to be contaminated with COVID-19.

    Furthermore, this Order created three categories of arrivals in Uganda for purposes of determining who – even when results from the medical examination were negative –, should be: allowed to proceed to their destination with guidance on how to avoid getting infected (category 3 arrivals), be observed by a medical officer for at least 14 days (category 2 arrivals) or subjected to mandatory quarantine at a place designated by the Minister for at least 14 days (category 1 arrivals).  It also made it an offence punishable on conviction by a prison term of utmost three months, for any of the following acts or omissions: contravention of the Order, obstructing or hindering designated officers from performing their duties under the Order, withholding of any information required to be provided by law and the provision of false or misleading information to designated officers. A heavier punishment of utmost twelve months prison sentence was provided in respect of operators of vehicles, aircraft or vessels convicted of the same offences.

  3. Public Health (Prohibition of Entry into Uganda) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 53 of 2020)
    On 24 March 2020, the Minister of Health issued the Public Health (Prohibition of Entry into Uganda) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 53 of 2020) with a back-dated commencement date of 21 March 2020.  The Order, which was made under section 36 of the Public Health Act, prohibited entry into Uganda by any person and the introduction into Uganda of any animal, article or thing at or through any of the border posts of Uganda except persons and animals, articles or things belonging to the United Nations Organization and any humanitarian organization destined for Uganda; and any vehicle, vessel or aircraft used for the conveyance of cargo into Uganda through any border post. These restrictions were to apply up to 23 April 2020.

  4. Public Health (Prohibition of Entry into Uganda) (Amendment) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 56 of 2020)
    This order was made on 9 April 2020 to introduce the following measures: a maximum limit of three persons allowed to occupy in a vehicle or vessel entering or transiting through Uganda and only crew members in case of an aircraft; the power of the medical officer to undertake a medical examination of all persons entering or transiting through Uganda by way of such means of propulsion; isolation and quarantining of such persons if suspected or confirmed to be suffering from COVID-19;  as well as disinfecting of vehicles, vessels or aircraft where there are clinical signs of contamination with COVID-19. The expiry date for the operation of the Order was also extended from 23 April 2020 to 5 May 2020.

  5. Public Health (Prohibition of Entry into Uganda) (Amendment No. 2) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 65 of 2020),
    This order was issued on 8 May 2020 with the effect of reducing the number of persons allowed to occupy a vehicle or vessel entering or transiting through Uganda from three, to two; and further extending the period for the continuance in force of the measures under the Principal Order from 5 May 2020 to 19 May 2020. This Order was also given an earlier commencement date of 6 May 2020.

  6. Public Health (Prohibition of Entry into Uganda) (Amendment No. 3) Order, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 69 of 2020).
    On 22 May 2020, the Minister issued the above measure to extend the application of the measures under the Principal Order for a further three-week period running from 19 May 2020 to 9 June 2020. This order was also given an earlier commencement date of 20 May 2020.

  7. Public Health (Control of COVID-19) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 52 of 2020)
    On 24 March 2020, the Minister of Health, acting under sections 11 and 27 of the Public Health Act, issued the Public Health (Control of COVID-19) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 52 of 2020). These Rules prescribed among others: the duty of local authorities and persons in control of premises and employers to notify and/or take to the medical officer or medical practitioner of COVID-19 patients under their jurisdiction; duty of medical officers of health and medical practitioners to refer to regional referral hospitals patients under their care who get to be diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as to notify, and ask to take precautions, family members or caregivers of deceased persons whose post-mortem examination reveals that they died of COVID-19; inspection by a medical officer of health and procedures for dealing with persons at premises where a COVID-19 patient was residing, with attendant powers to disinfect such premises; disposal of bodies of persons who succumb to COVID-19;  prohibition of spitting in public or in any place where the public has access; prohibition of and making it a criminal offence for a person to escape from isolation or quarantine facility; as well as handling of suspected carriers of COVID-19; regulation of activities and dealing with persons in, an area declared to be infected by COVID-19.
    Furthermore, the Rules provided for the following restrictions: closure of schools and institutions of higher learning; closure of bars and cinema halls; prohibition of prayers in places of worship and in open air; prohibition of marriage ceremonies, wedding parties, vigils and funerals except where the people gathered do not exceed ten; prohibition of public meetings including political rallies, conferences and cultural related meetings; prohibition of indoor and outdoor concerts and sports events; prohibition of trading in animals at places designated for that purpose by a local authority; prohibition of group exercising including group jogging in public places, highways, roads and other public spaces. These restrictions were initially meant to last up to the end of the first week of April. However, they were later extended as follows:

    - Pursuant to the Public Health (Control of COVID-19) (Amendment) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 57 of 2020) issued on 9 April 2020, the above restrictions were extended up to 5 May 2020.
    - Pursuant to the Public Health (Control of COVID-19) (Amendment No. 2) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 63 of 2020), the period was extended from 5 May 2020 to     19 May 2020: and
    -On 20 May 2020, the timeline was further extended to 9 June 2020 pursuant to the Public Health (Control of COVID-19) (Amendment No. 3) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 67 of 2020). This Amendment additionally introduced a requirement for schools and institutions to resume instruction of pupils and students, in their final year of studies, at all levels of learning, with effect from 4 June 2020. 

  8. Public Health (Control of COVID-19) (No. 2) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 55 of 2020)
    When cases of COVID-19 increased, the Minister issued the Public Health (Control of COVID-19) (No. 2) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 55 of 2020) on 31 March 2020 to introduce more stringent measures by way of a nationwide lockdown effective 1 April 2020. The measures introduced included: imposition, throughout Uganda, of 19oo hours to 0630 hours curfew, as well as the prohibition of the selling of non-food items in markets, stores; prohibition on the sale of and closure of all other businesses (shops, stores, and premises/offices for provision of services) dealing in non-food items namely shopping malls, arcades, hardware shops, salons, gymnasiums and massage parlours, hotels and lodging houses, motor repair garages and workshops.  

    The instrument however exempted certain categories of trades, services and processes which would continue to operate. These included: businesses dealing in pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, and seeds, as well as veterinary drugs and detergents; factories and construction sites that could comply with the requirement to accommodate their staff on the premises and ensure that these do not leave until the tentative date of 14 April 2020.

    Furthermore, a countrywide ban was imposed on driving on any road in Uganda, of any class of vehicle or engineering plant except those that would be exempted by the Minister for Works but in any case belonging to the following categories: medical services, including ambulances; police services; Uganda Peoples Defence Forces services; electricity services; water and sewerage services; fuel service stations; agricultural and veterinary services; telecommunications – including media, services; banking services; Uganda Revenue Authority services; Uganda national roads Authority services; Uganda Wildlife Authority services; security services; delivery services including deliveries to the places and premises that had been permitted to operate under the Rules and deliveries from those places to homes; cleaning services, including garbage collection services; funeral services; as well as selected Government services. Motor vehicles or engineering plants thereby authorized were also required to display a sticker issued by the country’s Ministry responsible for roads and transport. These were also exempted from the curfew restrictions where they were required to be used during its enforcement.  Also exempted from the requirement to have a sticker were cargo vehicles both operating or transiting through Uganda, if these would only operate up to 1400 hours.

    on 9 April 2020, the Public Health (Control of COVID-19) (No. 2) (Amendment) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 58 of 2020)  was issued specifically to amend Statutory Instrument 55 by extending the period for enforcement of the measures thereunder from 14 April 2020 to 5 May 2020.

    Notably, Statutory Instruments No. 52 and No. 55 of 2020 were also later revoked and replaced by the Public Health (Control of COVID-19) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020) which commenced on 23 June 2020. All aspects under the former instrument such as the curfew, control of public gatherings and meetings were retained. In addition, a number of new aspects were introduced namely: mandatory requirement for wearing of a face mask at all times outside of one’s residence; introduction of conditions for use of motor vehicle and motorcycles including allowing for a maximum of four persons including a driver in a motor car and a private omnibus, restricting to 50% the licensed carrying capacity of public service vehicles as well as allowing for operation of motorcycles but only for carriage of cargo and not beyond 1500 hours of the day; prohibition of hawking, street vending and selling of nonfood items in markets.  

    Statutory Instrument 83 was later amended by the Public Health (Control of COVID -19) (Amendment) Rules, 2020 (Statutory Instrument 94 of 2020) which came into force on 22 July 2020. The amendments included: imposing a curfew throughout Uganda, with effect from 22 July 2020, starting at 2100 hours on each day and end at 0530 hours on the following day which is still in force; the opening of some shops and stores located inside arcades, as would be determined by the government with effect from 22 July 2020; extension of closing time for operation of a motorcycle from the initial 1500 hours to 1800 hours and allowing carriage thereon, of only one passenger per trip.

    As of 1 May 2021, Uganda still had in force a curfew although the country has generally reopened in a number of areas including borders and airports; schools, most businesses etcetera. Places of worship were also reopened in September 2020 although they were required to operate on partial capacity. Calls to the government of Uganda to open up places of worship started around July 2020, especially after neighbouring Kenya allowed theirs to resume albeit in a limited fashion with strict adherence to standard operating procedures.

Guidelines by the Ministry of Health

In addition to the above Orders, the Ministry of Health issued a number of guidelines and tools to facilitate effective management of the pandemic, especially by the health sector workers. These are:

  1. National Guidelines for Management of COVID-19, April 2020
    In April 2020, the MoH issued Guidelines to be followed by all health workers in public and private facilities at all levels of service delivery, for the management of the COVID-19 situation. These Guidelines were developed in acknowledgement of the novelty of the COVID-19 pandemic for which there was no definitive cure and vaccine at the time. The stated objectives of these guidelines were to: (i) provide guidance on clinical management of the COVID-19 cases in the context of existing infectious diseases including Nutritional and Psycho-social Support; (2) provide a standardized package and pathway that will support timely decision making for management of COVID-19 cases in the context of existing Infectious diseases; (3) detail the measures necessary to protect hospital staff, patients and visitors/caregivers; and (4) provide guidance on the management of other disease conditions and patient groups such as pregnant and breastfeeding women. The guidelines cover a range of issues related to COVID-19 case management including clinical signs and symptoms, case definition, screening and triage, personal protective equipment, admission and discharge protocols, relationship with caregivers among others.

  2. National Guidelines for Quarantine in Context of COVID-19, April 2020
    The other set of guidelines issued by the MoH were the National Guidelines for Quarantine in Context of COVID-19. These guidelines provided for among others: the categories of persons to be quarantined; the minimum requirements for quarantine sites; duration of admission, the welfare of residents, medical procedures (Tests, care and monitoring) for a quarantined person; requirements for persons in-home quarantine as well as the obligations of communities and government towards such persons; protocols in relation to institutional quarantine; procedures for triggering and implementation of geographical quarantine; as well as special situations relating to pregnant women and children in quarantine.

  3. Guidelines for the use of face masks
    As part of its efforts to ensure the safety of Ugandans, the MoH further issued guidelines on the use of face masks. These guidelines detailed the types of masks available on the Ugandan market and how they work, recommended type of masks for use by the community, notes on the effectiveness of alternative/locally made cloth masks, who should and when to wear a mask, handling/management and disposal of masks among others.

  4. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) for Conducting Church Services in the COVID-19 Era
    In preparation for the re-opening of places of worship under the government of Uganda’s gradual relaxation of the lockdown measures it had adopted to contain Covid-19, the MoH issued Standard operating procedures for the conducting of services. This was intended to enable the ministers to run the places of worship in a safe manner that does not expose their following to Covid-19. The SOPS issued related to the management of entry and exit into the places of worship, sitting arrangement, sanitation protocols, the conduct of business during worship time, welfare and emergence response mechanisms among others. In addition, worship centres were required to: observe the presidential Directives and Ministry of Health Guidelines; incorporate Health Campaigns as part of announcements at the beginning of services and at the end; provide congregants with frequent updates from the government on the COVID 19 status in the country;  conduct multiple services and days of services due to the limited number (70) of people allowed per service session; suspend Sunday school services for children; observe curfew hour limits; provide for electronic and door/entrance offerings;  undertake registration at entry points and in addition allocate a seat number to each person registered; put up posters sensitizing the public about Covid-19; recruit security personnel to guide people on the sitting arrangements; ensure that the entry points are different from the exit point and that they are clearly marked; marking seats with numbers. Outstandingly, these guidelines also prohibited political campaigns in the church.

    Thus, the limited reopening of places of worship by the President on 21 September 2020 found an elaborate guiding framework within which they would operate. Notably, in November 2020, the number of persons allowed to attend mass gatherings, including religious functions and political rallies, was increased to 200.

Guidelines/Directives by other Ministries and government agencies

  • Ministry of Public Service

    Guidelines on Preventive Measures against Corona Virus (COVID-19), Circular Letter No.3 of 2020, 25 March 2020
    These Guidelines were issued by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Service to provide guidance on how the country’s public service would deliver services in light of the measures adopted in response to COVID-19.  The Circular among others directed that: all Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Local Governments to identify skeleton staff to remain on duty to ensure that essential services continue to be provided; the skeleton staff retained would have to avoid physical contact both with fellow staff and external clients; the Responsible Officers in Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Local Governments should provide contact details (phone numbers, emails, web-sites and other electronic media) to enable clients reach out to them virtually; in as far as possible, the MDAs and Local governments should use Electronic documents or correspondences; all first line employees retained at Government premises should be provided with protective kits such as gloves and nasal masks and a requirement for the staff to strictly observe regular hand washing/sanitization.

    Additional Guidelines to Implement Government Directives on the Management of Public Service Institutions During the national Quarantine Period, Circular Letter No. 4 of 2020, 31 March 2020
    On its part, Circular No. 4 was issued to guide the management of the provision of critical public services during the lockdown measures adopted by the government on March 30 with regard to the management of COVID-19. The circular listed the essential services which had to be provided by the public service within the overall directives of the Government. These included: health services and security; revenue collection; security/safety of assets of the MDA/LG; provision of network connectivity for both the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) and the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS); and agencies dealing in Public utilities such as Water, Electricity and ICT Services. Additionally, the Circular ordered all MDAs to release four (4) vehicles together with their drivers in order to buffer the provision of critical health services.
  • Contingency Strategies to Process Salary, Pension and Gratuity during the Lockdown to contain COVID-19, Circular Letter No.5 of 2020, 31 March 2020
    This Circular detailed how Public Officers, Pensioners and beneficiaries of deceased Public Officers would be paid their entitlements in the following month (April) while at the same time highlighting the envisaged risks and proposed mitigation measures in that regard. This was in acknowledgement of the fact that payment of entitlements to Public Servants is a critical service.

  • Guidelines for Working Remotely/Telecommuting or Working from Home for the Uganda Public Service, Circular Letter No.6 of 2020, 7 April 2020.
    By these guidelines, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Public Service notified Responsible officers in the different MDAs and local governments of among others: the adoption of telecommuting as one of the methods of work in the Public Service of Uganda; an instruction for such Officers to determine which staff would be required to work remotely; management of performance of staff under the virtual working environment; guidance on how to ensure the security of Government information over virtual platforms; adherence to client confidentiality and protection against exploitation; computation of compensation and work hours etcetera.
  • Post-Lockdown Standard Operating Procedures for Office Operations in the Public Service of Uganda, Circular Letter No. 7 of 2020
    This Circular was issued on 5 June 2020 following the partial lifting of the lockdown specifically permitting private vehicles and Public Transport services to operate at 50% capacity, which meant that movement of Public Officers to and from their work premises was possible.  The Circular provided for the following guidance to the MDAs and Local governments’ operation: each MDA and LG was required to identify 30% of its workforce and especially those in the critical services sector, to start working physically while the other 70% would continue to work remotely as guided under Circular No.6 although some of them could be called upon to assist whenever there was a need;  the Responsible Officers were required to ensure decongestion of office premises and to limit physical interaction; ensuring that the health and safety of staff by among others enforcing the mandatory use of protective equipment, thermal scanning, sanitization at entrances to the premises among others; advising employees with cough, cold, flu and fever to stay at home and seeking medical treatment among others; as well as ensuring emergency responses to COVID-19 suspects. 

  • Guidelines for Prevention of COVID-19 in Public places
    These Guidelines essentially brought to the attention of public servants the protective measures issued by the MoH in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and requiring them to take note of and implement them.

Ministry of Education and Sports

In September 2020, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) issued Guidelines for Phased Reopening and Running of Education Institutions Under the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures. The purpose of these Guidelines was to help education institutions in the country to take the necessary steps in mitigation of the risks of transmission and spread of COVID-19 as education institutions reopened for candidate classes and final year students. The Guidelines covered a range of issues including the standard operating procedures to be followed by the schools on being opened; transportation of learners and staff; safe operations for education institutions; how to ensure effective utilization of school facilities; reorganization of school programmes; management of staff and capacity building; provision of facilities for implementation of the standard operating procedures among others. The guidelines were revised in February 2021 when other classes were allowed to commence with the school.

Judiciary of Uganda

  • Circular on the Administrative and Contingency Measures to prevent and mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 by the Judiciary, 19 March 2020
    On 19 March 2020, the Chief Justice issued a Circular detailing administrative and Contingency measures to be taken by the judiciary in order to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In this regard, the Circular suspended for a 32 days period starting 20 March 2020: all court hearings and appearances; all execution proceedings except those where attachment had already taken place; all conferences, workshops, meetings and training programmes whether local or international; all non-exceptional foreign travels for Judiciary staff; as well as presentation of prisoners and remandees except where it was possible to do so using a video link. The Circular however required Judicial Officers to continue being on duty and to complete any pending judgments on their desks during the suspension period. As regards cases at the submission stage, the courts were required to advise the respective counsel/parties to file written submissions.

    The Circular also provided for the issuance of Judgments and Rulings to the Parties online or via E-mail where possible.   Furthermore, the courts were required to continue handling certificates of urgency and taking pleas for serious cases and bail applications, in which case only the applicant and their lawyer or, as the case may be, sureties, would be allowed in court.  In the area of ensuring the health and safety of Officers, the Circular indicated that the Judiciary had already put in place sanitisers and other preventive measures and was in the process of procuring Digital Thermometers to deploy at various Courts premises.  These Guidelines were to be revised from time to time in accordance with the National Policy directives on COVID-19.

  • Guidelines for online hearings in the Judiciary of Uganda
    Following the above circular, the Chief Justice issued the Guidelines for online hearings in the Judiciary of Uganda. According to an opinion authored by a Judicial Officer on the website of Uganda’s Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) Secretariat, these Guidelines applied to the conducting of court business online including delivering of judgments and rulings; hearing of bail applications, mentions and interlocutory applications. It is further reported that the Guidelines conditioned participation/attendance to the online court processes to an invitation extended through a link provided by the Judiciary. 


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