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Fighting Coronavirus Together: Ugandans Stranded Abroad Start Returning


By Rogers Wanambwa 

KIU, Main Campus – Thirty-two Ugandans who have been stranded in Khartoum, Sudan arrived at Entebbe International Airport yesterday, June 23 after being repatriated by the government.

These are the first of over 2,300 Ugandans who have been stranded abroad since the national lockdown measures were put in place over 90 days ago in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem received the returnees at the airport as the plane that brought them back touched down. 

According to the minister, more Ugandans stranded abroad are expected during the course of the week.

“Starting this week, we expect to receive flights from Southern Africa with about 70 Ugandans, from the UAE approximately 200, from Afghanistan with approximately 108, USA about 134, and about 120 from India,” said the minister. 

Okello Oryem also said the government had laid out a grand plan to allow more Ugandans to come back from abroad over a longer period of time.

“A plan has been made to allow the return of an average of 300 persons every fortnight because our facilities cannot handle such a big number at once. After the 14 days quarantine, we let them go and allow another 300 to come back. By that time the facilities will have been sanitised and safe."

All the returnees are expected to pay for their own tickets back home and are to be subjected to mandatory testing and two weeks quarantine upon arrival, also at their own expense. 

Emmanuel Birungi, the acting general aviation security manager said that Entebbe International Airport has put in place all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to make sure the returnees' arrival goes smoothly and with no outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at the airport. 

However, the airport remains closed to the general public and normal business for now. 

Picture credit: Unsplash