Uganda has with immediate effect suspended all passenger flights between Uganda and India as a measure to control the spread of the new deadly Coronavirus variant.
Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng announced the measures on Friday as being aimed at preventing the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, in the wake of the deadly variant that has claimed many lives in India in the past weeks.
“No travelers from India shall be allowed into Uganda regardless of the route of travel. All travelers who may have been to India or traveled through India in the last 14 days regardless of the route taken shall not be allowed into Uganda,” Dr. Aceng said.
The Health Minister noted that all travelers that arrived from India before the suspension of the route of travel were expected to be in possession of a negative Covid test certificate within 120 hours from the time of sample removal and that these were to undergo a mandatory Covid test upon arrival.
“All those who test positive shall undergo isolation at a government-approved isolation center at their own cost and those who test negative shall undergo self-quarantine under the supervision of Ministry of Health with mandatory re-testing between 5 to 10 days,” Aceng said.
The suspension, according to the health minister however will only affect passenger flights and will not affect “cargo flights, where the crew does not disembark, technical stops where travelers do not disembark and aircraft in a state of emergency.”
” We shall also allow operations related to humanitarian aid, medical evacuation and diplomatic flights approved by the Appropriate Authority and Nationals returning home after medical treatment in India.”
With the country having confirmed five variants of COVID-19 from the United Kingdom, India, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, Dr. Aceng advised travelers from USA, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania to consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda.
She said that any traveler from the above countries including Ugandan nationals will be subjected to a COVID-19 test at the points of entry including Entebbe International Airport.
Ugandans were also urged to maintain Standard Operating Procedures while in public, and get vaccinated against the virus.
India is currently grappling with a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the Indian variant believed to be a super spreader that has affected both the young and old alike.
The death toll in India has surged past 200,000 as infection rates also soar.
On Wednesday, India recorded over 310,000 new infections, which is the world’s biggest single-day rise in coronavirus cases and more than 3,000 deaths.
Several countries including Kenya, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Britain have already suspended flights from India.