Uganda has joined dozens of countries which banned all travel from India as a critical measure to prevent a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All passengers/ passenger flights originating from India as of 1st May 2021, midnight are suspended until further notice,” said Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng during this Friday’s press conference.
India is battling a second wave of COVID-19, which has rapidly surpassed its first wave in 2020 in terms of the number of new cases and deaths per day.
Currently, India has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world after the USA.
“The country is working day and night for hospitals, ventilators, and medicines”, said India’s Prime Minister in his monthly national broadcast on April 25, 2021.
India has been recording more than 300 000 cases of COVID-19 per day since April 21, up from 100 000 per day on April 4.
These numbers eclipse India’s previous highest number of new cases reported in a single day, at 97 860 cases on Sept 16, 2020.
The Lancet reported that health infrastructure has collapsed in several cities, with several state governments imposing curfews and lockdowns on movement, such as in the national capital New Delhi and in Maharashtra.
Aceng said “no travelers from India shall be allowed into Uganda regardless of the route of travel.”
“All travelers who may have been in India or travelled through India in the last 14 days regardless of route taken shall not be allowed into Uganda,” she emphasized.
All travelers arriving from India before suspension date regardless of the route of travel are expected to be in possession of a negative PCR COVID 19 test certificate that is digitally verifiable conducted within 120 hours from the time of sample removal.
Such travelers must also undergo a mandatory PCR test upon arrival.
All those who test positive shall undergo isolation at a government approved isolation center at their own cost.
The higher number of COVID-19 cases in India has triggered foreign governments to be more cautious.
The UK Government has banned visitors travelling from India from entering the UK, and the French Government has imposed a 10-day quarantine on any traveller from India entering France.
Other countries which have put India on a red list due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases are Kuwait, Iran, Maldives, Italy, Indonesia, Germany and UAE among others.
Aceng said those who test negative shall undergo self-quarantine under the supervision of MOH with mandatory re-testing between 5 to 10 days
The flights and travelers from India exempted from the suspension include cargo flights where crew do not disembark; technical stops where travelers do not disembark and aircraft in a state of emergency.
Other exemptions are operations related to humanitarian aid, medical evacuation and diplomatic flights approved by the Appropriate Authority and Ugandan nationals returning home after medical treatment in India.
Indian State governments are scrambling to build up new infrastructure, making announcements this month about suddenly commencing the construction of new health facilities or oxygen plants.
Aceng said travelers from USA, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania should consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda.
The new instructions come against the backdrop of a spike in Covid-19 cases in Uganda.
Results of COVID-19 tests done on 28 April 2021 confirmed 69 new cases.
The cumulative confirmed cases are 41,866.
Total number of persons vaccinated against COVID-19 is 330,077.