NEBBI. The acting Nebbi district health officer (DHO) has criticised locals in the district for not adhering to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) guidelines.

Dr Justine Okwairwoth was speaking during coronavirus task force meeting on Wednesday, he said people seem to have gone back to their normal lives especially in markets.

He noted that majority of the locals are no longer observing the practice of hand washing and social distancing as directed by the ministry of health and President Yoweri Museveni.

Okwairwoth said there is need to heighten enforcement of implementation of existing directives and guidelines especially within Nebbi town.

But Mr George Obia, the Nebbi district police commander said as police, they are afraid of arresting people defying the Presidential directives because some of the positive cases had earlier mixed freely with the community before being taken for quarantine.

Obia insisted that they cannot continue arresting people before knowing their status for fears of turning police cells into a centre for the disease and escalate the outbreak.

“Even police officers who are arresting are at risk, may be the task force can guide us on how best we can handle these suspects. I would say that the suspects should be tested first before putting them in cells which is again a long process since results take at least 3 days to come out,” he said.

Similarly, Mr Christopher Omara, the Nebbi resident district commissioner (RDC) ordered police not to arrest people who defy COVID-19 guidelines but instead use other means to dissuade them from defying the directives.

Currently, there are 40 people quarantined in Nebbi district of which 14 are under institutional quarantine.