Uganda has suspended receiving new refugee arrivals with immediate effect for a period of 30 days.
Government has advised those in conflict-affected countries to make use of internally displaced persons camps as the situation normalizes.
Those already in the 30 settlements around the country will have to adapt to new guidelines that stop from crossing from one settlement to another, visiting relatives back in their countries of origin among others.
“We would however like to stress that refugees who are already in the country will continue to receive the support and solidarity in line with the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health. All reception centres at the borders, like Sebagoro, Nyakabande, Matanda, Elegu and Ntoroko as well as the Department of Refugees (DOR) offices in Kampala and Old Kampala Police desk refugee office are to close with immediate effect for a period of 30 days,” said Musa Ecweru, the state minister for Disaster Preparedness.
Ecweru adds that as of 21st march Uganda was still receiving refugee and asylum seekers from neighboring DR Congo, South Sudan and Burundi.
The suspension therefore puts on hold all the activities and the closure of reception centers at border points.
Currently responsible authorizes are decongesting reception centers.
Refugees will not be allowed to move from one settlement to another, moving back and forth visiting their home countries and everyone should adhere to the guidelines put in place by the president.
However usual services will remain like the distribution of food and other items to refugees and asylum seekers.
The ministry said they had reactivated isolation centers that were used during the Ebola crisis getting ready for any case that may come up in the refugee settlements.
Uganda currently hosts the largest refugee population in Africa with 1,411,098 refugees and asylum seekers as of 29th Feb 2020.
The refugees are hosted in 13 districts of Adjumani, Arua, Moyo, Yumbe, Lamwo, Kiryandongo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge, Isingiro, Obongi, Koboko, Kikuube host refugees in 30 settlements plus 79,958 urban refugees.