KAMPALA – The government at the weekend discharged 625 who recently returned to Uganda from various quarantine centres in Entebbe and Kampala.
Majority of those discharged returned from United States of America, Canada and Qatar two weeks ago. Key among those discharged is Eng. Badru Kiggundu, the board Chairperson National Water and Sewerage Corporation and former Electoral Commission Chairperson and former Health Minister, Dr. Christine Ondoa who returned from the USA.
Kiggundu, who says he travelled to the USA on official duty in early March, got stuck in New York. “I completed institutional quarantine and was discharged on Saturday. I’m home now,” he said. Kiggundu said he was able to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha with his family.
This is the Greater Eid through which faithfuls commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion and readiness to sacrifice his son Ismail. Some of those discharged over the weekend were from the first batch that returned between June 22nd and July 4th from Afghanistan, Turkey, India and South Africa among others.
This group stayed longer in quarantine as contacts of the 52 returnees who tested positive for the coronavirus-COVID-19. An additional six returnees tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. Some of the returnees protested against extended quarantine, saying they should have been discharged on Friday but left on Saturday or Sunday.
Returnees who book private quarantine centers must pay before boarding their flight to Uganda to allow the Health Ministry and private hotel managers plan better and avoid congestion at the quarantine centers. Despite the fact that the health officers collected samples from the returnees on Thursday, the results were released on Saturday and Sunday.
Blanshe Musinguzi returned from studied in USA. He protested against the extended quarantine period, saying he eventually paid Shillings 120,000 for the extra day in quarantine. As a result, he paid Shillings 1.8 million for the quarantine and Shillings 5.5 million for the air fare from the USA to Uganda.
John Baptist Imokola, an assistant Lecturer in the Department for Journalism and Communication at Makerere University, says he paid an additional Shillings 200,000 for the extended quarantine period. He spent Shillings 3 million for quarantine costs.
“I wanted to protest against the extended quarantine like some of my colleagues did on social media. But I changed my mind after one of the officials from the Health Ministry explained that test results had delayed because we were over 500 who returned on the same day,” Imokola said.
Those discharged are among the 2,643 Ugandans and legal residents who have returned from various locations since June 22nd. The latest group brings to 1,807 returnees discharged from quarantine in the last three weeks.