A group of Ugandans who were stranded in Saudi Arabia and in Europe over the current Coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday returned home.
At around 8:15pm a second batch of Ugandan nationals who had been stranded in Saudi Arabia landed at Entebbe International Airport aboard a special Saudi Arabian flight number SV 3459 which had earlier departed King Khalid International Airport.
“This repatriation was initiated by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and facilitated by Uganda Embassy in Riyadh and other authorities in Uganda such as the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health and Works and Transport,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The ministry noted that to date, a total of 557 out of 1800 Ugandans who are officially registered with the Embassy in Saudi Arabia from all its countries of accreditation have been repatriated.
“Given the high numbers of stranded Ugandans in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries of accreditation under Uganda Embassy Riyadh, similar arrangements are being worked out to have more Ugandans repatriated.”
In a related development, a group of 107 Ugandan nationals and legal residents who had been trapped in several European countries returned home on Tuesday evening.
The group that was stranded in the BENELUX region of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg landed at Entebbe at 11:15pm via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
These had earlier been seen off at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol by the deputy head of mission at Uganda’s Embassy in Brussels, Franklin R.Katungwe and other embassy officials.
“Among some of the Ugandans returning on the flight included; students, government officials, business people, medical doctors, and others who had travelled to the BENELUX region and Europe for various reasons,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Since the repatriation exercise started last month, on average, a total of 800 Ugandans have been returning home after every two weeks.
In total, over 2000 Ugandans including students, government officials, expatriates, senior citizens and businessmen who had travelled abroad by the time the Coronavirus pandemic broke out have been returned home.
Following their return, all Ugandans who had been stranded abroad are subjected to a 14-day quarantine before they are allowed to return to their various homes throughout the country as one of the ways to prevent the spread of the virus.