Uganda sends 22 travelers back to Europe over Coronavirus

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Back to Europe; A KLM aircraft at Entebbe int. Airport before it was directed to return travelers home; File Photo

Teams from the Ministry of Health at Entebbe International Airport last night directed 22 people from several European countries to board their plane and return to their respective countries of origin on suspicion that they may be infected with the deadly Coronavirus.

Confirmed reports indicate that 17 of these were dignitaries from European countries coming to attend the EU-Uganda Business Forum due to take place in Uganda, while 5 were students coming to Uganda for an exchange program with Makerere University. All the travelers had arrived aboard a KLM flight.

Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng confirmed this development and said all the 22 were from high-risk countries that had registered cases of the deadly Coronavirus. Dr. Aceng however noted that the travelers had no signs of Coronavirus, but it was risky to let them into the country owing to possible community transmission in their home countries.

Dr. Aceng said the travelers were quarantined in a hotel for a few hours before they opted to return to their countries hoping to return when the situation normalizes.

According to MOH guidelines, travelers from category one countries including Italy, France, Germany, South Korea, China and Spain must undergo a 14-days quarantine before they are released into the population. Category one countries are those that have had 100 or more cases of Coronavirus, and those with an exponential increase in of cases of Coronavirus.

She said the decision was taken because they are worried that the travelers may later develop symptoms since the disease has long incubation period and it is better to avoid the risk because the ministry has no tests to detect this early.  She appealed to travelers from the countries affected to cooperate as MOH strives to protect Ugandans.

Dr. Aceng also appealed to Ugandans returning home to respect screening rules at Entebbe Airport and undergo quarantine saying they have been receiving complaints that some do not want to be screened.

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