300 domestic workers from Saudi Arabia have been cleared to return home on a flight that is expected to land at Entebbe International Airport tomorrow Tuesday, July 28th 2020.
Government cleared their return, just days after Dr. Diana Atwine the Permanent Secretary ministry of health, informed the parliamentary committee on Government Assurances that the Saudi government threatened put Ugandan nationals on a plane with or without the clearance from Uganda.
The PS also explained that the 300 Ugandans are mostly domestic workers who entered the country illegally and were in deportation centers, or do not have funds to survive in the country, while others tested positive of COVID-19 and want to return but have no means.
Dr Atwiine said her ministry was under pressure to clear the group's return yet the country had already received more than the 300 returnees as agreed initially for better management of suspects and patients.
Now, government cleared the return of the group from Saudi Arabia according to Ambassador Patrick Mugoya, the Permanent Secretary ministry of Foreign Affairs. He says that the flight has been organized by the Saudi government.
However, Amb Mugoya says the ministry will stick to its schedule for repatriation flights and returnees must foot costs of air fares and also quarantine for those who opt for private facilities.
Currently, the ministry of health has arranged beds for the 300 Ugandans at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole to undergo institutional quarantine, since the 3 public facilities at Mulago Paramedical School, Fisheries Institute and Lands and Survey are fully occupied. The three facilities have a total room capacity of 250 beds.
According to Dr. Richard Mugahi, the National Coordinator for Quarantine at the health ministry, makeshift wards have been arranged in the three halls at Mandela National stadium to accommodate at least 1,000 people. Currently, 17 returnees are undergoing quarantine at Mandela National stadium.
Currently, Uganda has 972 are in institutional quarantine, out of the 2,154 who have arrived since June 22nd, 2020. Over the weekend, 357 returnees were discharged from various quarantine centres in Entebbe and Kampala.
The next repatriation flights will continue from August 2nd, after the latest batch of 1,105 arrived from July 18th to July 24th from North and South America. West Africa, Middle East and other locations.