Uganda has suspended receiving new refugees and asylum seekers with immediate effect for a period of time of 30 days over the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
In a joint statement issued by government of Uganda and United Nations in Uganda, all Reception Centres at the borders, such as Sebagoro, Nyakabande, Matanda, Elegu and Ntoroko as well as the Department of Refugees (DOR) offices in Kampala and Old Kampala Police Desk Refugee Office are to close with immediate effect for a period of 30 days.
Uganda has an open door policy for refugees and asylum seekers and currently hosts about 1.5million refugees, making it the most refugee friendly country in Africa.
"Uganda has suspended receiving of new arrivals with immediate effect for a period of 30 days. This is in response to the Presidential Directive to close all border points and stopping entry and exit of all persons to and from Uganda. We would however like to stress that refugees who are already in the country will continue to receive the support and solidarity in line with the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health," said Musa Ecweru, State minister for Refugees while addressing the press on Wednesday.
"Since refugees live like Ugandans, all measures being implemented across the country like frequent hand washing, use of sanitisers, no mass gatherings, no communal, political and cultural activities, banning of mass gatherings, etc shall all apply in the settlements within Uganda, while noting that precautionary measures will be implemented for the delivery of critical services."
Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator said that the new policy is in line with UN Refugee handling standards.