WORRY: COVID Grounds Over 100 Security Guards as 15 succumb to Virus

Security guards man the government agency premises in Kampala in 2019. (FILE PHOTO)

Kampala – At least 15 private security guards have succumbed to the new wave of Covid-19 in the last few weeks, according to The Uganda Private Security Association- TUPSA Chairman, Grace Matsiko.

Matsiko said the new Covid-19 wave has ravaged various Private Security Organisations (PSOs) leaving 15 personnel dead between June and July. In addition, Matsiko said more than 100 guards have tested positive for Covid19.

“The new wave of Covid-19 has really challenged our work. We have lost 15 of our personnel and more than 100 are being treated with Covid-19. It is challenging because some are in isolation but we have to continue paying their salaries,” Matsiko said.

Uganda has so far registered 86,140 Covid19 positive cases since March 21, 2020. Of these, 59,495 have recovered whereas 2,062 have succumbed to the contagious disease. At least 996 people are in critical condition.

TUPSA explains that many of their personnel got infected at their workplaces such as supermarkets, factories, stores, wholesale shops, Arcades, Malls and Plazas. Such places often attract crowds on daily basis.

Security guards who were found guarding buildings along Kisekka Market lane told URN that many of their colleagues got infected because people were refusing to heed their instructions such as wearing masks and washing hands.

“I guard this building from 7 am up to 6 pm and see people coming to enter shops without masks,” a guard who was standing along Mackay building said. “You insist that a person should not enter without a mask but the shop attendant tells you to leave his or her customer. People don’t want to wash hands even when water is put at the entrance.”

Relatedly, the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth-Ochola, through the director of operations, AIGP Edward Ochom, has cleared the movement of vehicles and motorcycles belonging to PSOs.

At the start of this second lockdown, police officers accompanied by Local Defence Units- LDUs were restricting guards moving on Pick Ups and carrying themselves on motorcycles. But Matsiko said that has since been harmonized by IGP through AIGP Ochom.

“Through the president’s guidance, PSOs were classified as essential services as we supplement police efforts in protecting lives and property of Ugandans,” Matsiko said. “At the beginning of this lockdown, there was bit of uncoordinated activities but the IGP cleared it.” 

Cleared PSOs are majorly those involved in escort services as such escorting cash in transit, guarding factories, hardware shops, supermarkets, those involved in protecting telecom companies’ offices, masts including those offering tracking services.

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