Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni released a video urging people to stay fit at home after banning outdoor exercise during the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
On March 31, Museveni placed the country on a 14-day lockdown, enacting a nighttime curfew and banning transport and other activities in a bid to stem the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
In a short video posted to Twitter on Thursday, the head of state appears barefoot in a gray tracksuit. Standing on plush red carpet in a spacious office, the 75-year-old addresses the camera before commencing his workout.
Yesterday, I discouraged people who have been jogging in groups, exposing themselves to risk amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. You do not have to go outdoors to exercise. Here is my demonstration of how you can exercise indoors and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/Ulbj6vGOYQ
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) April 9, 2020
“It’s good to go outdoors when there is no problem, but when there’s a need you can go indoors,” Museveni tells viewers. “This is just an office. Because I don’t have time, I always do my exercises here or even in my home, in my room.”
“So, you start by warming up,” the president says, before jogging from one end of the room to the other. Museveni then begins to do push-ups on the floor. In the background, his aides count to 30, although the camera appears to cut away at one point.
Sweating and out of breath, the president ends the video by urging people to exercise inside their home “compound.”
Most Ugandans do not enjoy such spacious living conditions as the president’s “compound.” According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 71 percent of people living in Kampala, the capital, share a one-room home with several other people.
On March 21, Museveni announced a 30-day closure of Uganda’s borders in an effort to halt the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. The president directed police and army units to help secure the borders. On March 24, Voice of America reported that Ugandan authorities had arrested six Chinese nationals and two Ugandans for violating quarantine orders. The men were charged with conducting acts likely to spread disease after they attempted to cross into the Democratic Republic of Congo illegally before completing a mandatory quarantine period for the Wuhan coronavirus.
Uganda is closely connected to China through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). With the BRI, China aims to establish power across Africa (and Asia and Europe) through economically predatory infrastructure projects. In Uganda’s case, China has established transportation projects that, instead of generating revenue, merely push the country into further debt.
At press time Friday, Uganda had 53 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus and no deaths.