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Uganda suspends mandatory Covid-19 testing for all arriving passengers at Entebbe airport

Uganda has intensified Corona-virus screening at Entebbe International Airport (PHOTO /File)

The government has postponed mandatory testing for all incoming passengers at Entebbe International Airport.

Last month, the Ministry of Health directed that effective September 3, all incoming passengers regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated against Covid-19 will undertake mandatory testing at Entebbe International Airport.

Ministry of health officials led by Minister Dr Ruth Aceng were expected to inspect the airport and testing centre on Thursday to assess the readiness of port health service providers in conducting the mandatory tests.

However, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson says the inter-ministerial committee resolved that the directive is postponed for two weeks. He says that the committee will visit the airport to assess the preparedness.

Laboratories have also been given extra time to prepare and set up machines at Peniel Beach, where the testing will be conducted.

Since May, only passengers from ten countries that include India, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates among others were subjected to mandatory testing if they are not fully vaccinated.

The health ministry had approved Test and Fly and Safari Lab to test arriving passengers at Peniel Beach gardens, almost two kilometres away from the airport.

Each passenger who is eligible for the test must pay 65 US Dollars (about shillings 250,000) from the arrivals section.

They also exit through a sealed path to ensure they do not mix up with the general public. They are thereafter asked to board buses from the parking lot, under the strict surveillance of both health workers and security officers. The buses then take the passengers to the testing centre.

With a daily average of 1,100 incoming passengers at the airport, sources say the ministry of health wants laboratories to release results in less than two hours to avoid congestion at the testing centre.

Ainebyoona says some of the over 20 laboratories that have been accredited have asked to set up laboratories at the testing centre.

Some of the laboratories include MAIA Group Labs, City Medicals, Same Day Lab, MBN Laboratory and Case Hospital.

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