KAMPALA — Uganda has embarked on a massive operation involving aircraft in a gradual manner to bring back some of the hundreds of thousands of nationals stuck abroad due to coronavirus restrictions, the Uganda Media Centre has said.
Uganda banned all incoming international flights in mid March as it imposed one of the world’s strictest virus lockdowns, leaving vast numbers of workers and students stranded.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said on Friday that government has since cleared 13 people including the family of tycoon Ben Kavuya to return home.
He noted that cabinet will on Monday May 18 finalise the position on this matter where more Ugandans will similarly be supported to return if they wish so.
“…a while ago, Parliament and Ugandans at large asked government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain to explain the situation of Ugandans stranded abroad, and where possible help facilitate them return home. It is therefore in a that light that foreign affairs Minister Sam Kutesa after a wide consultation including the Ministry of Health has cleared the following people, in a gradual consulted to return home and be quarantined at their own cost,” Mr. Ofwono wrote that followed a social media uproar.
“When an opportunity presented and Ethiopia airline is coming to Uganda, we requested that the Airline to bring the Ugandans who were stranded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” he said
President Museveni announced a closure of all airports and entry points to Uganda in efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Uganda.
He also advised Ugandans who are currently abroad to stay in the respective countries until the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted or the pandemic is successfully fought by government.
As a result of Museveni’s directive for the closure of Entebbe Airport to passenger flights, several students and other Ugandans are currently stranded in China, United Arab Emirates, USA, Spain, Italy and other countries that were badly hit by COVID-19, because they cannot fly back home.
Hundreds of thousands of Ugandans have registered with embassies around the world for repatriation.
Speaking to NBS in an exclusive interview aired on Monday May 11, the President said that everyone should remain where they are.
“We aren’t going to say let them come back, no, let them stay where they are,’ president said.