The COVID19 commonly known as coronavirus is taking a center stage in all aspects of life and the most affected is health and business. The world is at tension due to the scourge which has taken thousands of lives as I write this article. The COVID19 started out in Wahun a China province, it has gradually spread through the whole of Europe and now coming to Africa. A few cases have been recorded in Africa and these are people who have traveled recently in the western world countries which have been affected by the virus.
Since the world is now a global village where people move from one country to another for various reasons like visiting family and friends, wildlife safaris, political and business conference, all countries are at risk of being affected by the coronavirus. Countries like Uganda which are have not got any case of coronavirus are trying to protect themselves against it.
Travel advisories and restrictions have been put in place with the guidance of the ministry of health, Uganda tourism Board, civil aviation authority and other travel stakeholder. The travel restrictions and advisory has been effected most at the Entebbe International Airport (the main gateway of Uganda) where different guidelines and precaution measure have been set up to make sure that the COVID19 does not spread in Uganda.
Through a press release by the ministry of health below is what the travel advisory on coronavirus (COVID19) entailed:
The release entailed that coronavirus has spread in 109 countries and 61 countries had been recorded of local transmission by world health organization.
It further stated that about 110,000 cases have been registered worldwide and more than 1000 individuals have died because of the scourge. 11 African countries have recorded individuals tested positive of the virus and North Africa and West Africa have the most cases followed by South Africa and a case has been reported in Democratic Republic of Congo like aforementioned the cases reported in Africa are individuals who had traveled in the affected areas.
Ever since the outbreak of pandemic, different nationals and Ugandans from affected areas have entered into Uganda thus the country being at a high risk. Different national entry include 1074 Chinese, 43 Italians, 34 South Koreans, 244 Ugandans and 484 other nationals.
986 travelers were put into self-isolation and 606 individuals have completed mandatory 14 days of quarantine.
26 people who showed signs and symptoms of the virus were screen and tested but all were negative.
The release went ahead to reveal that there was no coronavirus cases reported as of 11 march 2020. However, measures were put into account to prevent the virus to getting into Uganda.
For the screening and checking of travelers at the Entebbe airport travelers from different countries where put into categories.
Category A was determined with countries where the virus has been rampant through number of cases and deaths
Category B are countries who have had cases of the virus on a minimal scale but very vulnerable to getting more cases.
These are the measures that were put by categories of travelers.
The Ministry of Health advises travelers from Italy, San Marino, Iran, South Korea, France, China, Germany, Spain, Belgium, USA, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Austria & Malaysia to consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda. Any traveller from the category below including Ugandan nationals will be subjected to self-quarantine for 14 days.
For the following countries (UK, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, India, and USA), the Ministry of Health will observe the travellers very closely and the evolution of the outbreak in these countries & advise on any restrictions in the coming weeks.
“The rest of the countries will undergo the routine screening upon arrival and be advised accordingly on the measures to undertake while in the country to prevent infection and where to report if not feeling well.”
Also different tourism and travel related parastatals came up with press releases
The Uganda wildlife Authority advised its clients/customers that there would be a provision of rescheduling of different tourism activity fees like gorilla permits, chimpanzee permit and many more to a further date without any fines as long as the request is made prior to the first booking date.
Any request for cancellation, the usual cancellation policy will be applied.
All permits should be fully paid for at least one week to the tracking date
All discounted permits can be similarly rescheduled without any fines.
The provisions will be effected on the 31st march 2020.
Uganda Tourism Board also came up with travel recommendations and they are as follows:
It is therefore the recommendation and encouragement of the Uganda Tourism Board that intended travelers to Uganda from the affected countries maintain their bookings but delay their travel until a later date when the disease is globally contained and no longer considered an outbreak.
Additionally, due to the current threat posed by Corona Virus to Uganda travel trade and tourism assets, it is the recommendation of the Uganda Tourism Board that;
- All tour operators, travel agencies, and accommodation facilities provide handwashing facilities with soap at their premises and on-board travel vehicles and vessels
- To improve preparedness as a sector, tour operators, agencies and accommodation facilities are encouraged to maintain a stock of recommended masks (N95) for their clients
- All tour operators and travel agencies should encourage clients who intend to visit Uganda to carry own recommended masks (N95)
- All tour operators, travel agencies and accommodation facilities should educate their staff and clients (visitors) on preventive measures for the mitigation of contracting Coronavirus
- These measures include; avoiding handshakes and body-hugging, washing hands with disinfectants, regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door handles
The government of Uganda is committed to keeping the country free of this outbreak and we remain confident in the proven track record of the Ministry of Health in preventing and in other cases containing such similar outbreaks.
We call upon the Uganda travel trade to be vigilant and follow the recommended measures by the Ministry of Health and report any suspicious cases to the toll-free numbers here: 0800 100066 and 0800 203033.
Coronavirus has become one of the most deadly diseases in the world because thousands of people are reported dead and more hundred thousand cases have been registered. This has greatly affected the travel business and the sports world. Many sport events have been suspended and also various international airports have been closed.