More than 40 Ugandan migrant workers who were deported from Saudi Arabia on Thursday are being held at Entebbe International Airport over failure to pay for the mandatory COVID-19 tests.
Mandatory COVID-19 testing for all arriving passengers started last and each arriving passenger parts with USD 30 or its equivalent of 110,000 Shillings for the swab.
While the Ministry of Health noted that deportees are exempted from the payments, on Wednesday 43 deportees were asked to pay for the tests or risk sleeping at the airport.
They landed around 1 pm aboard Ethiopian Airlines and were held in the waiting area. While none of them had a passport, they were cleared through immigration using their deportation orders and boarding passes.
After clearing with immigration however, the deportees were held at the airport.
One of them left the airport at 7 pm after her mother and sister mobilized funds for the test. They faulted the government for not showing them any compassion, despite knowing that they had returned without any money.
Good Samaritans organized some for some of the girls to get the tests and leave after 10 pm, but, 11 deportees were still stranded at the airport by Thursday morning for failure to contact their families to come to their rescue.