Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A second batch of 131 Ugandans and legal residents returned from India arrived in the country on Saturday night aboard Air Tanzania. The plane touched down at Entebbe International Airport 10:10pm.
The first batch of 139 of returnees from India arrived on July 1st. This brings to 805, the number of returnees from India, Afghanistan, Sudan, Turkey and Netherlands among other countries since the repatriation of Ugandans trapped abroad due to the Covid19 lockdown started last week.
Ambassador Charles Ssentongo, the Chief of Protocol in the Foreign Affairs Ministry and other government officials received the latest group of returnees. Among the returnees are 50 Ugandans, one British citizen, Indian nationals residing in Uganda and India’s newly appointed High Commissioner to Uganda, Ajay Kumar.
There were seven patients on the flight who had traveled for treatment in India together with their attendants. Dr. Richard Mugahi, the National Coordinator for Quarantine Centers at Ministry of Health, says Kumar will self-isolate at the residence of India’s High Commissioner.
He says the ministry will assess the patients and those with terminal illnesses and allow them to self-isolate while majority of the returnees will undergo institutional quarantine. The Ministry designated 37 quarantine centers in Entebbe and Kampala for the 2400 Ugandans and legal residents who registered as stranded abroad.
Sanjiv Patel, the Spokesperson Indian Association in Uganda lauded the governments of Uganda and India for facilitating the two flights from India.
Patel also lauded the Health Ministry for allowing the returnees with terminal illnesses to self-isolate instead of undergoing institutional quarantine.
He however says about 70 people including patients are still in India and could return after 15 days or when government okays the resumption of repatriation flights. The Foreign Affairs Ministry has halted all scheduled repatriation flights after July 4th, 2020 until further notice.
The decision aims at easing work for the Health Ministry to handle those already in quarantine and Isolation.