COVID-19: Uganda Bans All Passenger Flights, Closes Borders to Human Traffic

President Yoweri Museveni addressing the nation on Saturday

Uganda is set to block all passenger flights into Uganda as well as entry of people into the country by road and water, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A few days ago, President Yoweri Museveni said travelers would be allowed into the East African country but that they would be subjected to mandatory quarantine for 14 days. However, on Saturday he said this position has now been reversed due to the poor conduct of some travelers.

This, he said, was to tighten preventive measures.

“We have decided to prohibit all incoming passengers whether by air land or water. In order to actualize this, we have decided to prohibit all passenger planes from outside Uganda from landing at any of the airports of Uganda,” Museveni said in a State address at State House Entebbe.

Exception has been given to cargo planes flying in and outside of Uganda. The other planes which have been exempted from the ban are UN planes which are involved in emergency and relief work and other UN operations.

“The crews of these cargo or UN mission planes will be accommodated in locations agreed on with concerned authorities,” he said.

The prohibition will take effect on Monday at midnight.

Domestic planes will continue for now, Museveni said, adding that this could be reviewed when the situation deems so.

Museveni also said Uganda will prohibit all human traffic into Uganda through road and water.

Uganda hasn’t registered a COVID-19 case but each of its neighboring countries (Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and DRC) has reported cases.

“No person, Ugandan or otherwise will be allowed to enter Uganda by land or water except for drivers and accompanying crews not exceeding 3 for cargo vehicles. No buses, no minibuses or saloon cars, boda bodas will be allowed in the country”.

The same prohibition applies to pedestrians walking on foot or bicycles from neighboring countries, through border points or footpaths, into and from Uganda.

The President has ordered local authorities at border points to work with security forces to report and confine anyone coming in from neighboring countries. This ban also takes effect Monday midnight.

He said the measures are in line with the Public Health Act and anybody violating them is liable to prosecution and imprisonment.

Museveni said the new measures will stand pending the involvement of an East African Response Plan to the pandemic by EAC Ministers of Health.

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