Rwanda eases Covid restriction on travellers from Uganda

Monday September 06 2021
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An aerial photograph showing a section of Rwanda's capital city, Kigali. PHOTO/COURTESY

By Tonny Abet

Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has confirmed that the government of Rwanda has reduced the mandatory quarantine for passengers from Uganda to one day.

Passengers from Uganda were in the last two months subjected to a seven-day quarantine period upon arriving in Rwanda, according to information from Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), the country’s central health implementation agency. 

When asked yesterday whether the restriction was eased, Mr Fred Bamwesigye, the UCAA director general, said: “Yes it is true,” but didn’t give more details.

The removal of the seven-day quarantine follows a steady decline in daily numbers of reported Covid-19 cases in Uganda with the test positivity rate dropping from 10.7 per cent in June to 3.3 per cent as of yesterday.

In a September 3 statement, which this newspaper saw, RBC said the one-day quarantine is for passengers to wait for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test results which are done at $60 (Shs211,639). The charge per test is slightly below Uganda’s which is $65 (Shs229,275).   

Measures
The agency said all “travellers arriving in Rwanda must have a negative Covid-19 certificate” for a test done within 72 hours prior to departure and that upon arrival, travellers will be retested. 

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“All travellers are required to wait 24 hours for the results of their Covid-19 test taken upon arrival in a designated transit hotel...and the turnaround time for results is 24hrs from the time a sample is collected,” the statement reads in part. 
Uganda is also planning to start implementing the retesting of travellers but the turnaround time is expected to be less than four hours. 

RBC added: “If a traveller’s test result is positive for Covid-19 (even if asymptomatic) while in Rwanda, they will be treated as indicated in the National Covid-19 Management Guidelines until they have fully recovered, at their own cost.”

The seven-day quarantine has been a big burden to many travellers due to the cost involved. 

Mr Ahmed Kigunddu, the team manager for the Volleyball Cranes, told Daily Monitor last month that the national men’s volleyball team were subjected to the seven-day quarantine on arrival in Kigali. 

“It was important that we travel early because of the quarantine in Rwanda,” he said. 

Rwandan authorities demanded that the team desist from attempting to train during the seven days in quarantine, according to this newspaper's reporting. 

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