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Health ministry changes Covid-19 testing guidelines for travelers

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Ministry of Health has said that all individuals intending to travel out of the country should pay for  a covid-19 testing.  The certificates for the travellers must also indicate travel as the intended purpose of the test. 

In a press statement issued on Monday by the Ministry of Health,  the covid-19 tests should also be carried out 5 days (120 hours) before the intended day of travel.

Previously, the health ministry has been requiring people intending to leave the country to carry out a test 72 hours before their departure.

According to officials from the ministry of health, the changes have been made to address irregularities. 

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services, says that were forced to make changes to the travel certificates because some travellers were being dishonest to benefit from free testing.

“This is issued against the background that some travellers have been going to government testing centers claiming that they are contacts of previously confirmed cases hence tested for free, yet the actual purpose for the test was for travel,” he said.

Mwebesa says they cannot allow such behaviour to go unchecked because it will defeat the intended purpose for all travellers to pay money to get tested.

“These travel certificates are supposed to bring back some money to the government. We cannot afford to test people going to travel for business purposes free of charge,” Dr Mwebesa explained.

According to Mwebesa, if people want to get tested from government facilities, they should pay 180,000 Shillings. He adds that a copy of a bank slip should be provided at the testing facility before samples are picked and results released in 48 hours at the most.

Data from the health ministry show that on average 10,000 COVID-19 tests are carried out daily. 70 percent of the testing is carried out by persons intending to travel.        




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