Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The minister of foreign affairs, Sam Kuteesa says Government is discussing with Airlines to transport Ugandans to a central location from the over 66 countries worldwide before final evacuation.
Following the closure of the Airport and boarders, several Ugandans who had traveled out of the country got stuck in a lockdown that has now taken close to three months. The lockdown was put in place in avoid the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Although Government has registered 2400 Ugandans willing to come back, Government is yet to come up with a final strategy on how these Ugandans will return.
The return of the Ugandans stuck abroad is a complex process because in some countries there are barely ten Ugandans, while in other countries, like the United States, the distance between states are miles away still requiring air travel.
According to Minister of Foreing Affairs, Sam Kuteesa, now there are discussions to bring Ugandans stranded from the far locations they are in, to a more central location that they can be finally flown to Uganda.
Kuteesa was making a statement on Government plans to facilitate the travel of Ugandans in Parliament today.
He says for example, discussions with Ethiopian Airlines have been concluded to bring Ugandans to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from destinations that Ethiopian Airline will be returning.
Foreign Affairs says that discussions are ongoing with other airlines too.
Kuteesa says that only COVID-19 negative Ugandans would return, but they would also meet the costs of their air tickets and 14 day quarantine.
He says these will be required to present a COVID-19 negative certificate, while those that test positive will have to first undergo treatment in the country of exit and test negative.
He adds that government plans to allow the return of Ugandans stuck abroad in a phased and orderly manner but says that these will have to first undergo COVID-19 tests to ensure they are negative before they can board as one of the ways to minimize infections.
The first phase will be for Ugandans who are stuck in Europe, America, West Africa, East Asia and the Middle East, since they are the hardest hit compared to Ugandans in the region.
URN has also learnt of Government plans to put up tough penalties including fines and jail term for Ugandans who return and breach quarantine guidelines.