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Health Ministry Explains Why 11 Covid-19 Positive Returnees Were Allowed Entry into Uganda

The Ministry of Health has explained why 11 Covid-19 positive Ugandan returnees from Afghanistan were allowed to board the plane which is contrary to the health guidelines.

Among the guidelines put in place by the Government for the return of Ugandans stranded abroad were that every returnee would be in possession of a COVID-19 negative certificate showing that they are free from the disease before boarding the flight, mandatory quarantine at their own cost after arriving in Uganda among others.

However, among the 91 Ugandan returnees who arrived in the country from Afghanistan on Sunday, 11 were declared positive for COVID-19 by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

ChimpReports has contacted Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General Health Services in the Ministry of Health to explain why.

Mwebesa told ChimpReports that some returnees boarded the plane without results and they couldn’t be chased after arriving home.

“They (returnees) were supposed to come with results or certificates showing that they are negative for COVID-19 but later, what happened is, people did not come with results as we had expected. Some of them boarded without results and after reaching here we couldn’t chase them. We just accepted them. The most important thing is that we quarantine them and take off samples immediately,” Mwebesa told ChimpReports.

He added, “but sometimes also, the arrangement is such that they take their tests and to some extent, the flight doesn’t come immediately and they couldn’t repeat the tests and we can’t refuse them to board. So we have to allow them to come and then test them here.”

Dr. Mwebesa further said that even if they came with results, they would still be tested again after landing into the country adding that having results is only for ensuring that the flight airlifts people who are free from the disease.

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“That doesn’t exclude them from being tested again on arrival. We still test them,” he said.

On the issue of reports that recently circulated indicating that some Government officials were forcing returnees to be quarantined inexpensive Hotels, Mwebesa said people choose where to be quarantined and those who couldn’t afford quarantine costs were put under institutional quarantine in selected schools under the facilitation of Government.

“That’s not allowed. It’s not acceptable at all. People should choose where they want to go. We have a list of many Hotels but they choose where they want to go. We can even tell them that they shouldn’t go where they can’t afford to go. Nobody should force them to go to Kabira (Country Club), Serena or wherever and those who can’t afford completely are free to go to our institutional quarantine,” said Mwebesa.

Asked how many returnees have failed to raise quarantine costs and opted for institutional quarantine in schools, Mwebesa said, “the person responsible for quarantine told me by yesterday (Tuesday) that he had 45 people who had booked to be in institutional quarantine among those who are arriving this week.”

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