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Health ministry, Aviation issue guidelines for travelers intending to use Entebbe Airport

Byadmin

Jun 4, 2020

While addressing parliament on May 28, Sam Kuteesa the minister of foreign affairs revealed government’s plan to allow Ugandans stranded abroad, to return home in a phased and orderly manner. According to the minister, several Ugandans who had traveled abroad on short visits for business, medical treatment, tourism and other valid reasons, got stranded. “This decision was taken after very careful considerations that are meant to balance the need to bring home these brothers and sisters but also to ensure the safety of our people at home,” explained the minister earlier.

Dr. Benson Mwesigye (left) who led a team from the health ministry and Eng. Ayub Sooma the director airports and aviation security while inspecting Entebbe airport

Following Kuteesa’s communication, officials from the ministry of health and the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) inspected Entebbe airport on Thursday, to assess readiness of the airport and ascertain whether there were enough facilities to handle incoming and outgoing passengers during this Covid19 period. Dr. Benson Tumwesigye who led a team from the health ministry said, the return of Ugandans will largely depend on readiness of the health ministry and airport to handle such passengers.

In his communication, minister Sam Kuteesa earlier indicated that foreign missions abroad had registered close to 2,400 individuals who are stuck in 66 different countries. According to Dr. Tumwesigye, all returning people shall be handled in batches. “We can handle 500 people in a single batch. We have a team of 20 laboratory operators who can take 400 samples in less than one hour,” intimated Dr. Tumwesigye, adding that all incoming passengers shall be subjected to mandatory 14-days quarantine. He also noted that government shall have a mandate to cater for all requirements of returnees while undergoing the mandatory quarantine at different centres.

Meanwhile, Eng. Ayub Sooma the director for airports and aviation security said, three large executive tents funded by the Department for International Development, were mounted by the World Food Programme(WFP) at the airside to handle processes for airport health in ample space. “The tents will enable us address Covid19 requirements such as social distancing, temperature screening, profiling and observation of arriving passengers,” explained Eng. Sooma.

The three spcious executive tents mounted at the airside from where incoming passengers shall be tested

Dr. James Ejul the incharge of medical services at Entebbe airport intimated that, aircraft operators have been notified to release not more than 50passengers at ago, upon landing at Entebbe airport.

According to Eng. Sooma, all incoming passengers shall be required to test for Covid19 before boarding the plane to Uganda, and likewise, those leaving Uganda for other countries, shall be required to have valid health certificates from the ministry of health or undergo a rapid test at the airport before departure. “Glass shields are to be introduced at check-in booths to reduce direct contact between the airport staff and passengers,” assured Eng. Sooma.

According to the new plan, all doors in the airport terminal are planned to be converted to automatic sensor opening non-touchable doors plus all water taps to be replaced with non-touchable taps.

The foreign affairs minister earlier noted that, by allowing Ugandans to return home, government is not re-opening the international airport to regular passenger flights. All the returning travelers will be required to meet the cost of their own travel back home as has been the international practice for many countries.

As a measure to forestall a possible outbreak of Covid19 in Uganda, president Museveni announced the immediate closure of Uganda’s international borders and Entebbe airport effective March 22, 2020.

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