All passenger Flights between Uganda and India have Friday been suspended until further notice, the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has announced. The suspension takes effect tomorrow May 1st, 2021 at 23:59hrs.
The development follows the discovery of the Indian COVID-19 variant in Uganda.
There are currently 5 variants that have been detected in the country. According to Minister Aceng, the epidemiological distribution and impact of these variants in Uganda is currently unknown, but scientists are continuously studying the progression.
“We have however, observed that some of these variants enable the virus to transmit more efficiently from person to person, and infection from some may result into more severe illness. The variants currently circulating are; Indian variant, South African variant, Nigerian variant, UK variand and Ugandan variant” Dr Aceng revealed.
The Minister further revealed that travelers from India shall not be allowed into Uganda, regardless of the route of travel, and all travelers who may have been in India or travelled through India in the last 14 days regardless of route taken, shall not be allowed into Uganda.
She added that all travelers arriving from India before suspension date regardless of the route of travel are expected to be in possession of a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate that is digitally verifiable, conducted within 120 hours from the time of sample removal.
They must also undergo a mandatory PCR test upon arrival. All those who test positive shall undergo isolation at a government approved isolation center at their own cost. Those who test negative shall undergo self quarantine under the supervision of the Ministry of Health with mandatory re-testing between 5 to 10 days.
However, some flights and travelers from India are exempted from the suspension and these include; cargo flights where crew do not disembark, technical stops where travelers do not disembark, aircraft in a state of emergency, operations related to humanitarian aid, medical evacuation and diplomatic flights approved by Appropriate Authority as well as Nationals returning home after medical treatment in India.
Meanwhile, travelers from USA, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania have also been asked to consider postponing nonessential travel to Uganda.
According to Dr. Aceng, travelers from these countries including Ugandan nationals will be subjected to a PCR COVID-19 test at the Points of Entry including Entebbe.
However, individuals in Category 2 who have received their full COVID-19 vaccination and are asymptomatic will be allowed into the country without the need for testing on arrival.
Dr. Aceng says the Ministry of Health will observe countries showing a rapid increase in number of cases every 7 days and advise on any restrictions in the coming weeks.
As of today, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Uganda stand at 41,866, active cases on admission are 33, recoveries (home-based care and health facility based) stand at 41,422 while 342 have succumbed to this highly infectious and deadly disease.
“We are now experiencing a gradual increase in the COVID-19 cases as shown by the statistics collected countrywide in the last 6 weeks and it is an inclination towards the beginning of a resurgence. This surge is already showing in districts that have remained on high alert and have been carrying out active surveillance like Arua, Gulu, Kiryandongo, Oyam, Kitgum, Jinja, Tororo, Adjumani, Moyo, Wakiso and Kampala. It is important for us to note that for viral epidemics, the second wave is usually more aggressive than the 1st wave” Minister Aceng warned.