The Ministry of Health has apologized for the COVID-19 testing delays at Entebbe International Airport that caused frustration to some travelers on Wednesday.
Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said that at least 30 testing booths would be set up to ease the work.
Travelers that arrived into the country on Wednesday night took to social media to share their frustration, saying they had been made to wait for their COVID-19 test results for the whole night.
Minister Aceng visited the Airport on Thursday to understand the issues that were being raised by the travelers, and put in place mitigation measures.
Speaking on the press on Friday, Aceng said that what caused the uproar was that travelers were not able to access their results which were being printed and read out manually, yet the public address system was also not audible enough, causing congestion at the dispatch desk.
Aceng said that this has been resolved, and results will be given out through an online system going forward.
“Results will no longer be given out manually but through an online system which includes e-mails, WhatsApp messages, and display of names on the available screens mounted on the walls for those who do not have smartphones or laptops,” Aceng said.
Aceng added that results will now be linked to passports or travel documents to enable quick scanning and verification and the turnaround time for results will now be between 45 minutes to 2 hours.
She said that the government has also put in place an online registration portal where travelers can register before arriving at the airport to make the process much more seamless.
Aceng also noted that samples will now be collected from at least 30 sample collection booths, with a capacity to collect 30 samples every 5 minutes.
She encouraged travelers to corporate with the new guidelines to make the process smooth for everyone.
“We regret what happened at the airport, and we pledge to continuously identify the challenges and correct them in a timely manner,” Aceng added.
President Museveni launched the new mandatory tests last week, saying that the measures aim to protect the country from a possible importation of new Covid-19 variants.
The move, according to the government also seeks to protect the country from a possible third wave.
The new guidelines necessitate all arriving passengers, irrespective of vaccination status and their country of origin, to undertake a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at the Airport.
The guidelines however exclude children under the age of six (6).
Travelers are also mandated to carry a negative PCR test certificate obtained within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.