A group of 32 Ugandans who have been stranded in Sudan following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has finally returned home.
The group was received by Uganda’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Henry Okello Oryem at Entebbe International Airport last evening.
The minister revealed that the process of preparations has been ongoing and now the relevant institutions are ready to start receiving the returnees.
The return of Ugandans follows Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa's address recently in which he said that the government was committed to allowing Ugandans stranded abroad to return home in a phased and orderly manner.
A number of Ugandans have returned and currently being quarantined at different isolation centres. The first group of Ugandans were flown into the country from Turkey, on Monday, whereas 32 nationals returned from Sudan on Tuesday. More 16 Ugandans also returned from Belgium and Netherlands on Tuesday night.
This week, the country expects to receive flights from Southern Africa with about 70 Ugandans, from the UAE with approximately 200 Ugandans, from Afghanistan with approximately 108 Ugandans, from the USA with about 134 and about 120 from India.
“Today, in particular, we are receiving 32 Ugandans coming in on a flight from Sudan and 16 Ugandans from Belgium and Netherlands,” said Oryem.
On Monday this week, Uganda received a flight from Turkey with a few Ugandans and flights from other destinations will soon follow, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We will allow 300 Ugandans to come in after fourteen days when that group has left the quarantine facilities, then we will allow another 300 Ugandans to occupy those vacated facilities after being cleaned and decontaminated. The next 300 hundred will go through the same procedure and that is what we shall be doing every fortnight,” Oryem said.
The minister also said that in the event that anybody is found to have COVID-19 after or during quarantine, he or she will immediately be taken to hospital.
“On behalf of Government, I wish to thank all the Ugandans who are stranded abroad and their families for being very patient, as Government deals with this very difficult and unprecedented situation,” the minister said.
Explaining the delay, the minister said the airport had to be prepared to receive the Ugandans but also to adhere to the World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health standard operating procedures.