Entebbe, Uganda – Following the suspension of all scheduled and non-scheduled passenger flights in and out of Entebbe due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of the Republic of Uganda has given directives regarding resumption of international flights on 1st October 2020.
In a statement from Civil Aviation Authority, Fred Bamwesigye, the Ag. Director General notes that all arriving passengers on international flights whose body temperature is NOT above 37.5° C (99.5°F); do not have a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing or other flu-like symptoms; have negative PCR based COVID – 19 test carried out within 72 hours before travel shall be exempt from quarantine.
“For passengers presenting with symptoms at the Airport without a test result, a sample will be collected upon arrival and the individual is required to quarantine at his/her cost until the result is returned. The sample will be tested at the individual’s cost,” Bamwesigye said.
“Testing of any of the recent travelers’ will be symptom based, in the event that they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19,” he added.
According to Bamwesigye, contacts to recent travelers that develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and tested if symptomatic.
“The contacts that are in the high risk category will be prioritized for testing to ensure early diagnosis and management,” he added.
Africa Tembelea also understands that vulnerable individuals will be prioritized for tracking, testing and care if infected and where possible, self-isolation and self-management, under well-defined Standard Operating Procedures and clear referral pathways will be instituted for the asymptomatic non-high risk individuals.
The statement from CAA further notes that Health facility-based isolation and care will be preserved for the moderately, severely and critically ill case-patients, adding that, “Consideration will be made for auxiliary non-health facility based isolation and management of mild cases especially among the high risk categories.”
Relatedly, CAA says that all crew shall be exempt from quarantine after operating any flight if they have negative PCR based COVID – 19 test carried out within 14 days before travel. This they say will apply if their body temperature is not above 37.5° C (99.5°F) or they do not exhibit symptoms of COVID–19 with no suspected case of COVID-19 on their flight.
“With a suspected case of COVID-19 on the flight, the crew shall be quarantined at home or designated facility. If results are negative they shall be allowed to resume normal duties,” the AIC statement from CAA reads further.
CAA also notes that air operators shall be responsible for ensuring: the passengers are tested prior to travel; proper screening; medical briefing and reporting any cases to the relevant authorities.
For Passengers traveling out of the country will be required to have an Authentic Valid Negative PCR test Certificate and abide by the particular travel, health and COVID-19 related requirements of the Destination Country.
Africa Tembelea also understands that Passengers arriving on flights after the curfew, with a valid Air Ticket and Boarding Pass shall be allowed to proceed to their hotels and/or residences, while drivers are advised to show evidence that they have come from the Airport to drop or pick up passengers.
Mr. Bamwesigye also says that passengers departing on flights after the curfew, with a valid Air Ticket and Boarding Pass shall be allowed to proceed to the airport for their onward flight.
The AIC notice from CAA also recommends that Air Operators provide guidance material to passengers regarding application of the preventive measures on board.
Where physical distancing cannot be guaranteed because of the seat configuration or other operational constraints, Africa Tembelea understands that the crew members will make constant on-board announcements reminding passengers to adhere at all times to all the other preventive measures including strict hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette and should wear a surgical face mask.
The Entebbe based Civil Aviation Authority is also reviewing frequency and timing of flights to facilitate physical distancing at the Airport.