By Salim Kalanzi
Entebbe International Airport and other land entry borders have reopened today (October 1) for travelers around the world after nearly seven months of lockdown.
President Museveni closed the airport on March 22. Only cargo and United Nations planes carrying humanitarian emergency in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have been operating.
The reopening today will however follow strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as guided by the ministry of health to avert the spread of COVID19.
This morning the Turkish Airlines and Emirates are expected to touch down as they resume commercial flight operation. Fred Bamwesigye, the director general, civil aviation authority said airline companies, besides Uganda Airlines will be limited to operating one flight per day.
“Uganda Airlines is a home airline and they have more responsibilities currently. They are doing repatriation,” he said.
As part of the SOPs, all departing and arriving passengers will be subjected to temperature checks and enhanced screening.
Officials say passengers who may have a body temperature above 37.5℃ (99.5°F) or any symptoms of coronavirus will be referred to further management which may include testing and/or quarantine. (72 hours)
Additionally, no quarantine will be applicable for travelers with a negative PCR test, body temperature below 37.5℃ (99.5°F), and who do not present any symptoms of COVID-19.
Enforcement officers at the airport will not allow relatives to welcoming their loved ones at the airport premises. Only drivers will be given access after presenting a certificate of covid proving he/she is negative. Employees at the airport will also be required to present covid19 certificate.
Here is what to expect if your planning to travel
Uganda Airlines said it has undertaken the necessary safety measures in compliance with approved guidelines by host Governments aimed at protecting passengers and crew. The following guidelines will be applicable for the flight
1. All travelers will be required to present to the airline, proof of a negative PCR test result for COVID-19, conducted within 72 hours of departure and done by a health facility accredited by the host Government. Passengers must carry along an official printed certificate as SMS and digital certificates will not be accepted.
2. While in transit, the returnee will be required to adhere to the host country’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for safe travel and the SOPs provided by the airline while on the plane. This includes wearing a face mask and sanitization.
3. Every individual traveler is advised to carry a spare mask(s) in case they need to replace the original one that they have. Used masks will only be disposed of in a facility provided for that purpose.