By Lawrence Mushabe
Entebbe International Airport with liaison from the Ministry of health have issued guidelines with which Ugandans stuck abroad will have to use if they are returning home through Uganda’s gateway.
More than 2400 Ugandans in countries including China, United States, UK, German and some in West Africa have since March 30th, a week after President Yoweri Museveni instituted a Lockdown throughout the country been pleading with the foreign affairs Ministry to return home.
Some, amongst whom are students in different academic institutions had completed studies in under graduate and Master’s degree programs but denied entry since the President had issued a directive shutting down the Entebbe International Airport in a bid to prevent the importation of the Corona Virus Disease.
“Both the Ugandan Parliament and the Ministry of Health and that of the foreign affairs are very unserious. These guys promised to evacuate us a month ago but they all went silent,” a student at the New York State University cried out recently.
Last week, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kahamba Kuteesa told Parliament that his Ministry is working on a plan to return all Ugandans who need help to return home. The Ministry through Entebbe Airport is yet to recieve the first batch of Ugandans return.
Only 11 people had been authorized recently by the Ministry of foreign affairs to return to the country by May 31st this year.
Now, the return has prompted immediate issuance of guidelines by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Health on when and how the returnees will be allowed into the country.
The guidelines will among others see returnees sanitized, diagnosed of the Coronavirus disease upon return and taken for quarantine at the returnees own cost.
Tents at the airside of the runway have been instituted to ensure that all returnees are checked and quarantined. Not more than 50 passengers will be allowed to leave the airport after such tests. The arrivals and departure terminals of the airport will also be fitted with automated censors to ensure aviation security is needed up.
Ayub Sooma, the Director Airports and Aviation Security at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority on Thursday told Journalists that airport staff are putting in place measures and facilities to be used by returnees upon getting on to the airport tamarc and parking apron.
The guidelines will see all operators and service providers social distance, use masks while the returnees will undergo mandatory testing of the deadly COVID 19.
“Three tents have so far been put in place to accommodate about 160 people who will be waiting to be tested,” engineer Sooma says.
Benson Tumwesigye, a Ministry of Health official working with CAA to return the stranded Ugandans decried that well as they are working closely to return fellow Ugandans, the team still lacks essential material used to ensure preparedness for such return. He however didn’t establish the missing essential items.
“I request Government to fully support us. Ministry of Health will lay it’s foundation to curb the spread of the disease.” He says.
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