Govt postpones return of stranded Ugandans

Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng

Government has postponed the repatriation of Ugandans who are stranded abroad to a later date, which the Ministry of Health said will be communicated.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, had earlier said that 300 of the 2,392 stranded Ugandans would be repatriated every after two weeks and that the first group was supposed to arrive on Saturday.

However, officials at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said they were not aware of any plane bringing the stranded Ugandans.

Later at the weekend, the Ministry of Health clarified in a tweet: “While more than 2,300 Ugandans will be repatriated, no flight repatriating Ugandans is arriving into the country today. The exact date will be communicated in due course.”

Efforts to talk to the Health minister about the change were futile.

Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, referred us to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“You know the details are with Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they are the ones that have been in touch. Those people are the ones who know these flights…for us we do not organise their flights neither do we have their scheduled flights…,” Dr Atwine said.

However, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to our repeated calls.

Dr Aceng said all the returnees must undergo Covid-19 testing and isolation.

“Ministry of Health has identified and prepared a total of 16 quarantine centres where all the returnees must undergo 14 days of institutional quarantine at their own cost,” she said.

The minister added: “We have assembled screening and laboratory teams to ensure that all returnees undergo Covid-19 testing upon arrival and on 10th and 14th days of quarantine, respectively. If anyone is found positive in the quarantine site, he/she will be transferred to a designated treatment centre for care.”

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, many Ugandans abroad were left jobless and majority of them have been crying to the government to grant them permission to return.

Last month, there was an uproar after the government allowed city tycoon Ben Kavuya to fly in his family members from the United States of America amid the lockdown over coronavirus despite the cry of other Ugandans.

This saw the Foreign Affairs ministry write to all heads of Ugandan missions abroad, asking for updated information on citizens stranded due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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