In a bid to strengthen measures to contain the spread of the COVID19 pandemic, Government has announced a ban on new asylum seekers entering the country, for 30 days.
In a statement issued by Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Eng. Hilary Onek, the order takes immediate effect.
“With immediate effect, no new asylum seeker arrivals will be received within the country in a period of 30 days. All Transit and reception centres including DOR/ Kampala and Old Kampala Police Desk Refugee Office shall be closed to new asylum seeker arrivals for a period of 30 days. Security is hereby enjoined to ensure strict compliance to this guidance,” Onek said in a statement.
Onek also issued guidelines that must be followed by asylum seekers already at the reception and transit centres in refugee settlements.
All asylum seekers within transit and reception centres must be screened for Coronavirus and UNHCR (United Nations High Commission For Refugees) working with partners must ensure immediate availability of screening gadgets, adequate health workers and facilitation for this purpose.
UNHCR must provide hand sanitizers and other relevant protective gears to frontline staff in all Transit and Reception centers as well as all refugee settlement staff.
In liaison with settlement commandants, hand washing facilities must be established at transit and reception centers and all refugee settlement including DOR Kampala.
Isolation centers and quarantine spaces at all Transit and reception centers and refugee settlement to manage confirmed cases must be established by UNHCR with the help of medical service providers in refugee hosting districts and relevant IPs and OPs.
A Communication and information dissemination strategy on COVID 19 preparedness measures by the President and these supplementary measures should be developed and implemented in all settlements.
Ministry of Health in collaboration with RDOs and other stakeholders should institute surveillance mechanisms to detect and likely occurence of Coronavirus among refugees and host community population.
RDOs and settlement commandants must ensure that Transit and reception centers and any crowding points within the refugee settlements are decongested immediately, minimized and avoided.