Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng apologized for the COVID-19 testing delays at Entebbe International Airport that caused frustration to some travelers early this week.
Travelers that arrived into the country on Wednesday night took to social media to share their frustration, saying they had been made to wait for their COVID-19 test results for the whole night.
Minister Aceng visited the Airport on Thursday to understand the issues that were being raised by the travelers, and put in place mitigation measures and said that at least 30 testing booths would be set up to ease the work.
Speaking on the press on Friday, Aceng said that what caused the uproar was that travelers were not able to access their results which were being printed and read out manually, yet the public address system was also not audible enough, causing congestion at the dispatch desk.
Aceng said that this has been resolved, and results will be given out through an online system going forward.
“Results will no longer be given out manually but through an online system which includes e-mails, WhatsApp messages, and display of names on the available screens mounted on the walls for those who do not have smartphones or laptops,” Aceng said.
Aceng added that results will now be linked to passports or travel documents to enable quick scanning and verification and the turnaround time for results will now be between 45 minutes to 2 hours.
She said that the government has also put in place an online registration portal where travelers can register before arriving at the airport to make the process much more seamless.
“We regret what happened at the airport, and we pledge to continuously identify the challenges and correct them in a timely manner,” Aceng added.
Mandatory COVID-19 testing for in-coming and out-going passengers at Entebbe International Airport had raised concerns among stakeholders, due to high costs associated with the process, among other reasons.
The government of Uganda, through the ministry of Health and Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), instituted compulsory testing for in-coming and out-going passengers in a bid to stop the importation of COVID-19 which until now has left many economic sectors closed.
In the process that kick off on October 22nd, 2021, in-coming passengers pay USD.30 for a PCR test, while out-going passengers are charged Shs.250, 000.
She encouraged travelers to corporate with the new guidelines to make the process smooth for everyone.