Uganda Travel Advisory on COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Outbreak

Uganda Travel Advisory on COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Outbreak : Although Uganda has not registered any cases of persons infected with the Covid-19 corona virus as of 17th March 2020, the country is on high alert given the fact that its neighbors like Rwanda, Kenya, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have all confirmed cases of people who have tested positive for the corona virus.

On 7th March 2020, the Republic of Uganda through its Ministry of Health, issued a press statement in regards to the measures that the country is taking to prevent the importation of the Novel Coronavirus Disease, also known as COVID-19. Currently, as of 17th March 2020, there are over 183,319 confirmed cases that have been reported globally, with more than 7,177 deaths.

In the statement issued to the press, the honorable minister for health in Uganda, Hon.Dr.Jane Ruth Aceng said that Uganda is at high risk of importation of the COVID-19 corona virus given that over there are lots of people travelling in and out of the country.

According to the press statement that was released, a total of 1,296 travelers, Chinese, Ugandans and others travelling back to Uganda have been identified as high-risk individuals and are being followed up by various medical teams.

According to the statement released, a total of 765 travelers are under self-quarantine, of which 456 have completed the mandatory 14 days self-isolation. Samples from 20 persons who showed signs and symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 coronavirus have all tested negative for the corona virus.

In order to reduce on the risk of importation of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Ministry of Health in Uganda is undertaking the following measures;

  • All travelers will be thoroughly screened when entering into Uganda through Entebbe International Airport and other border points of entry such as Busia, Malaba, Cyanika and Egeru.
  • All travelers coming to Uganda from COVID-19 affected countries are required to undergo mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Temporary postponement of any international meetings and conferences that have been slated to take place in Uganda. The decision had been made following extensive consultations with key experts from the Ministry of Health, WHO (World Health Organization) and US CDC.
  • The general public has been advised to avoid mass gatherings which have proved to increase the risk of transmission of infectious diseases such as the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Both travelers and Uganda nationals have been advised to take extra precaution by doing the following;

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person suspected or infected with the 2019-nCoV corona virus. The most recommended type of mask to wear is an N95 respirator, which doctors believe is the best to protect one against acquiring the new corona virus.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick, and avoid physical contact with anyone, whether friends or family. If possible keep a safe distance of about one meter away from any individual, especially those coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene i.e. cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow, handkerchief or tissue when coughing and sneezing. Always discard tissue into a closed bin immediately after use.
  • Seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms like fever, cough, a running nose, or difficulty in breathing.
  • Avoid eating uncooked animal products like beef, milk and eggs. Also, strictly avoid any contact with stray animals such as cats, dogs, rodents, birds and bats among others.
  • Avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the ground or on structures of shops and market facilities.
  • Postpone or cancel any travel plans to countries that have been infected with the 2019 corona virus.

Uganda Travel Advisory.

In addition to the above preventive measures, the Government of Uganda has issued travel regulations for tourists travelling from various countries that are affected by the COVID-19. These regulations have been issued for countries according to three different categories basing on various criteria, which include;

  1. Number of total (cumulative) cases: The higher the number of cumulative cases, the higher the chances of exportation/spread of COVID-19 cases.
  2. Number of cases in the last 24 hours: This is a measure of active transmission of COVID-19 in the countries.
  3. Exponential increase in cases in the last 7 days: This is an indication of community transmission of COVID-19. This was measured indirectly basing on the percentage increase in the number of cases in the last 7 days.

The countries that had cumulative number of cases of more than 100 and/or had more than 10 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours (total of 19) were ranked using the above criteria and scoring.

Category 1:

Travelers residing in the following 7 countries (Italy, South Korea, France, China, Germany, and Spain) should consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda. Any traveler from the above mentioned countries, including Uganda nationals will be subjected to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival to Uganda even if they do not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

In addition to this, travelers in the above highlighted category 1 who insist on visiting Uganda will be subjected to self-quarantine or institutional/ health facility quarantine at their own cost.

Category 2:

Travelers from countries such as UK, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, India, and USA will be closely monitored by the Ministry of Health. In addition to this, the ministry will also closely observe the evolution of the outbreak in the said countries and advise on any further restrictions in the following weeks.

Category 3:

Travelers from the rest of the countries will undergo the routine screening upon arrival and be advised accordingly on the measures to undertake while in country to prevent infection and where to report if not feeling well.

The above analysis is subject to weekly reviews and the travel advisory will be updated accordingly. In addition to this, any of the above highlighted/mentioned countries that successfully contain the corona virus outbreak will be removed from the list after 14 days without reporting new cases.

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