By Monica Kobusiinge
Entebbe, Uganda: The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority has released a series of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed as Entebbe International Airport eyes reopening to passengers following its closure for nearly seven months.
According to the new SOPs, all the departing passengers will be required to present authentic and valid Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction(PCR) test certificates issued 120 hours before travel.
“Passengers and airport users will be subjected to temperature screening on entry to the airport and departure hall,” the notice reads.
“In special circumstances where passengers are not required to present negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate in the country of destination. Such passengers should ensure they get clearance from the destination country so as to be allowed to board.”
In addition, passengers will be expected to wear face masks but also maintain 1.5 metres apart from each other within the airport terminal.
CAA says that only passengers and airport users with official business in the terminal will be allowed access to the airport.
Passengers are also advised to arrive at the airport at four hours before the scheduled flight.
“Airlines shall not board any passenger coming to Uganda without a negative Covid-19 PCR test. Any passenger without the negative PCR Covid-19 test shall be denied entry and the airline shall be obliged to take back the passenger,” CAA said
It added, ”In special circumstances where passengers are not required to present negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate in the country of destination, such passengers should ensure that they have clearance from the destination country so as to be allowed to board”.
In the unlikely event returning Ugandans who arrives without a negative PCR Covid-19 result, they will be allowed into the country but shall have the test done at their cost of $65 approximately shs240000 and quarantined at their own cost until the results are out.
” A passenger who exhibits signs and symptoms of an infectious disease shall be transported in an ambulance to an isolation centre ( Entebbe Referral Hospital) for Covid-19 Test, the results shall be returned with 24-48 hours as the passenger remains in the isolation centre.
These follow President Museveni’s directive in March earlier 2020 when he ordered the closure of Entebbe Airport together with other entry and exit points into and out of the country as one of the measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, despite the rapid transmission of the deadly virus, Museveni in his 20th Presidential address on COVID-19 last week, directed that the airport and the country’s borders reopen on October,1 in a bid to save the perishing country’s economy.