Repatriation of Ugandans stranded abroad to resume this Saturday -Gov’t

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51 Afghan refugees arrived at Entebbe International Airport on Wednesday; Courtesy Photo

Repatriation of Ugandans stranded abroad following the lockdown imposed on the country in March, will resume this weekend -The ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Wednesday.

The repatriation exercise to facilitate return of Ugandans trapped abroad on account of closure of airports was halted on 4th July, 2020 with authorities attributing the decision to lack of accommodation space for returnees.

According to the ministry, the exercise had been suspended for a period of two weeks to enable proper quarantining of returnees who had so far arrived in the country.

The resumption of the exercise according to the ministry will start with a repatriation flight from Washington DC, USA on Saturday 18th July, 2020, and another flight from Qatar, Doha on the same day.

On 19th July, 2020 another flight will bring returnees from Otawa, Canada according to the schedule released. The ministry notes that additional repatriation flights will be communicated in due course.

Upon suspension of the exercise which had taken a period of barely one week, the ministry reported that more than 300 people had returned and filled up the quarantine centres. It was also noted that an estimated 1,500 returnees were to be affected by the decision.

Those that had returned are from South Africa, Turkey, India, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy, United Arab Emirates and India, within whom at least 13 of the returnees tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the MOFA, potential returnees are advised to undergo PCR tests for covid-19 in their country of origin and pay for the entire cost of their own travel up to arrival at a designated point of entry into Uganda.

While in transit, the returnee is required to adhere to the host country Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for safe travel and the SOPs provided by the airline while on the plane. This may include wearing of a face mask and sanitizing as may be required.

On arrival in Uganda, the returnee must deposit their passport with the Immigration officers until the end of the mandatory quarantine period & upon presentation to the immigration office of a certificate of release from quarantine issued by the Ministry of Health.

The said certificate must additionally indicate a negative test result, according to MOFA.

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