The Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has made a clarification regarding the return of Ugandans stranded abroad due to COVID-19 lockdown.
In her most recent address to the nation about COVID-19, Aceng said the first batch of Ugandans stranded abroad would arrive home on June 13, 2020.
This however was not possible and today, while addressing the nation, she explained why it was unsuccessful and what Government plans to do.
“The issue of Ugandans abroad and why they have not returned, we have to be aware that these Ugandans have to book their own flights. It is not us booking for them and no flight will move unless it is full so there has to be a coordination mechanism there and Ugandans are not in one country,” Aceng said.
All the coordination, she said, is being undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She added that the Health Ministry has prepared and is ready but reiterated that the process of booking the flights is not a mandate of Ministry of Health.
“Our activities will start when Ugandans land in Uganda. We requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide us with a work plan so that we are knowledgeable about how the flights will come in and the groups of people from different countries. When we don’t have that workplan, it is difficult to plan for 2,400 people,” she said.
The 2,400 set to be flown back home, the Health Ministry advised Government to bring them in batches with each batch containing 300 people and for each batch to come every after 14 days.
The 14 days, Aceng said allows people in quarantine to either go into isolation or be released so that enough space can be prepared for returnees.
On the issue of each returnee meeting his / her own mandatory quarantine cost, Aceng explained that Government does not set cost for Hotels but can rather negotiate.
“We have however prepared our classrooms at the institutions for those who cannot afford,” she noted.
She added that at the institutions where some people unable to pay for quarantine costs at the Hotels will be quarantined, the Ministry of Health will be meeting the bills such as water and electricity.