The United Arab Emirates has banned entry into the country, passengers travelling from 16 countries in the world, Uganda inclusive over Coronavirus.
The countries from which whose passengers has been banned by AE include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Zambia.
“The current development on the Covid- 19 pandemic leads the UAE to impose new flight and passengers’ restrictions. The UAE government is closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates and instructions as necessary,” a circular by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said.
According to the circular, the move has been made in a bid to harmonise flight and passenger restrictions from the countries but noted this will not affect diplomats and those suffering from medical emergencies.
“All other previously stated travel protocols — including allowing entry only to UAE citizens, diplomats, golden and silver residency visa holders — will remain in place. Private charter jet regulations still hold, with no more than eight passengers allowed to travel per flight,” GCAA noted.
“Confirmed Covid-19 patients or those who have come in close contact with Covid-19 patients should generally remain in place and not travel until they meet the criteria for discontinuing isolation or quarantine period based on national protocol of the country they are in,” stated the circular.
“This includes UAE national passengers who wish to return home or those planning to travel to other countries.”
The development comes days after government through the Ministry of Health ordered fresh mandatory Covid-19 tests for all workers flying abroad.
The move was necessitated by reports of unscrupulous behavior by some labour firms were colluding with travel agents and unscrupulous people to forge Covid-19 test results.
In one incident, 185 out of 319 passengers that flew from Uganda to Dubai between June 6 and 7, 2021 tested positive on arrival in the United Arab Emirates capital despite having presented negative PCR Covid-19 results at Entebbe.
It was found out that after displaying negative Covid-19 test results at Entebbe Airport, on retesting at their final destinations, they test positive and this cast doubt in Uganda’s health system.
Investigations also found out that Covid-19 samples being referred to government-accredited testing public and private laboratories have on several occasions been tampered with whereas there have also been numerous attempts to hack into the government central Covid-19 results dispatch system so that the names of travellers and their results are simply entered into the system without undergoing testing.
Government consequently, directed that all migrant workers be tested again at arrival at Entebbe Airport prior to flying out.
“This exercise is being undertaken to protect the credibility of our health system at meeting international obligations and to deter further blacklisting of our country from travel arrangements,” Dr. Diana Atwine , the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary said earlier this month.
UAE is a destination for many Ugandans, especially migrant workers who fly to the Middle East country on a daily basis.
Data from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development indicates that 12,000 Ugandans leave for the Middle East every year in search for jobs.