Government opens borders for Ugandans stuck in EAC

Monday August 10 2020
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Some vehicles enter through Katuna-Gatuna border post between Uganda and Rwanda on August 22, 2019. PHOTO | FILE

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revealed that they have opened borders for Ugandans stuck in the East African Community (EAC) countries to return home.

The ministry has since June been repatriating Ugandans stuck abroad due to Covid-19 effects.

The government said it was doing arrangements to return Ugandans by road.

Initially, only cargo trucks were allowed into the country after the outbreak of Covid-19 in March.

The State minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Okello Oryem, yesterday told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview that Ugandans should, however, first get clearance from Uganda’s High Commissions in those countries and present a Covid-19 certificate before accessing Uganda.

“Ugandans, who want to return by road from the EAC should possess a Covid-9 test certificate not longer than a week and must get permission from our embassies. When they reach the border points, they are supposed to be subjected to another Covid test before being driven to quarantine centres of their choice,” Mr Oryem said.

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He added: “Those who want to return should hire individual vehicles from the countries they are coming from because they cannot return in groups. The repatriation of other Ugandans by plane in all countries, EAC inclusive, are still underway.”

According to Mr Oryem, those who are slated to travel by road are the ones who cannot afford airline tickets.

According to the revised schedule from the Foreign Affairs ministry, 93 Ugandans from Southern Africa and Mogadishu in Somalia are slated to return today through Uganda Airlines and African Express Airways.
Others from the Washington DC, USA, Middle East countries such as United Arab Emirates, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are expected to return subsequently.

The government has also started arranging air planes for Ugandans stuck in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan for those who can afford the ticket fares.

Other Ugandans
Meanwhile, the ministry is still arranging repatriation of Ugandans stuck in China, Russia, Malaysia and Australia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to repatriate a total of 2,392 following numerous discussions by Parliament and Cabinet of returnees, who said Ugandans were suffering after losing their jobs.

Stranded Ugandans were supposed to be repatriated after every two weeks due to the limited quarantine space provided by the Ministry of Health.

dmukhaye@ug.nationmedia.com

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