Tourists into the country will have a special treatment as government commences the mandatory testing of travelers into the country at Entebbe Airport, officials have said.
President Museveni last week commissioned the testing facilities at Entebbe International Airport as government took over the process of the mandatory Covid-19 testing for all travelers entering the country through the airport.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, the ICT and National Guidance Minister, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi said the move is aimed at preventing the importation of new Covid variants into the country.
“We have started with the airport but will later roll out to all the border points. This process is not meant to inconvenience anyone but safeguard our country from new Covid variants,”Baryomunsi.
The Minister for Tourism, Tom Butime said a special arrangement has been made to make the process seamless for tourists.
“At the airport, a special tent has been put for VIPs and tourists to be checked. We are satisfied this place is very good and samples will be taken from tourists and then allowed to go to their hotels. The test results will then be sent to the tourists at their hotels,”Butime said.
The tourism minister said that in case the test results are positive for Covid, the tourists will be “assisted” on the next course of action whereas for negative test results, they will then be allowed to continue with their various destinations into the country.
Minister Butime said the special arrangement has been made to ensure tourists are not inconvenienced as they come to visit the country.
“We want to assure tourists that the process will be seamless. They should not cancel or change their travel plans to Uganda. They should know that they will be comfortably handled and no one will be inconvenienced in any way,”Butime said.
The move for mandatory testing recently sparked outrage from frequent travellers and tour operators who said the move will put a heavy burden on tourists and frequent travelers.
Whereas at first government had indicated that it the test would cost $65, this has since been revised to $30 which is about Shs107,000.
According to government officials, the turnaround time for the mandatory Covid test results will be reduced from four hours to two hours and 15 minutes with five PCR test machines with capacity to test 300 samples per hour put in place at Entebbe International Airport
The facility is said to have the capacity to test 3,600 passengers in 12 hours and 7,200 passengers in 24 hours.