Forbes Lists Uganda among the Safest Places to Visit Starting This October

Forbes Lists UgandaStill celebrating the Safe Travel Seal, Forbes Magazine, one of the most-read business magazines around the world, recently named Uganda among the six places travellers should consider visiting this month (October). This Good News came shortly after Uganda re-opened Entebbe International Airport on October 1st. The airport has been closed for the 6 months as one of the steps of curbing the importation of COVID-19 cases into the country.

An endorsement from such a high-esteemed publication is remarkable for Uganda, especially when it comes this time when the tourism sector around the world has been disrupted by the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Government of Uganda data, In the 2018/2019 financial year, Uganda earned about Shs5.8 trillion from its tourism industry making the sector the country’s leading foreign currency earner for the fifth year in a row. This accounted for 7.7% of the national GDP and 6.7% of total national employment after creating 667,600 jobs.

Uganda’s State Now…

Whereas other countries are being hit by the second wave of coronavirus, the Ministry of Health together with the Uganda government has continued to ease its lockdown including all its Uganda safari destinations. Travellers or tourists interested in visiting Uganda have guidelines (SOP’s) to follow e.g. every traveller is required to present a negative COVID-19 polymerize chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours upon arrival and a negative test before departure for those travelling out of the country via Entebbe. The test needs to happen no more than 120 hours before departure.

International flights to Entebbe Airport resumed on October 1, about six months after the government closed airports in the wake of the pandemic.

Uganda reopened its national parks in August.

Lancet Commission data released last month ranked Uganda as the best country in Africa in suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic in the month of August. Ranking 10th among 91 countries analyzed, Uganda emerged the best on the continent, thanks to the Ministry of Health efforts in controlling the spread of the deadly virus. So far, the country has registered 93 deaths, 9701 cases and 6022 recoveries as per the ministry of health data released on October 10.

Uganda’s success in containing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus has stabilized infections, making it one of the safe countries to travel to starting this October. Other safe destinations to travel to according to Forbes include Panama in Central America, El Salvador in North America, Pakistan in Southern Asia, Ukraine in Eastern Europe and the Bahamas in North America.

This list below was penned down by Gabriel Leigh, an experienced travel writer who has also written for other prominent media organizations like The New York Times and BBC Travel.

Forbes 6 Places to travel Starting this October; Their Requirements and Current COVID-19 Trend

Uganda – Open from October 1st

Travel Entry requirements: Every traveller must have a negative test within 72 hours of arrival and a negative test before departing the airport and the test needs to happen no more than 120 hours before departure.

Travellers should also keep in mind that there is a national curfew that starts at 9 pm and ends at 6 am, however, if you have a flight between those hours you are permitted to go to/from the airport but you must have your flight documents with you in case you’re asked to present them.

Uganda’s Current COVID-19 trend: Uganda’s COVID-19 trend is relatively okay. Uganda’s coronavirus case count was on the rise throughout September but in absolute terms, their outbreak has been reasonably small; it only has 93 deaths, 9701 cases and 6022 recoveries as per the ministry of health data released on October 10.

Panama – open from October 12

Travel Entry requirements: From October 12 onward, travellers or tourist can enter Panama normally provided they have a negative PCR test from within 48 hours of arrival. Testing at the airport on arrival is optional, because many travellers may find it difficult to get a negative test result on such a short turnaround. However, the cost for the test on arrival is to be paid by the passenger though it’s unclear how much it will cost.

Arriving travellers are also required to fill out an “Electronic Affidavit” confirming they are healthy and will abide by all health protocols sets.

Panama’s Current COVID-19 trend: Panama’s COVID-19 trend is stable. Coronavirus cases are present but the trend is steady and daily deaths are now below their summer peak.

El Salvador – Is Open

Travel Entry requirements: El Salvador is open to every traveller who wants to visit it provided you arrive with a negative PCR test done within 72 hours. Of all countries listed down on this list, El Salvador has been open the longest and its protocol seems to be working well so far.

El Salvador’s Current COVID-19 trend: El Salvador’s COVID-19 trend has improved. Though there are some reports of unreliable data, officially at least case numbers are below their peak and relatively stable.

Pakistan – Open from October 11

Travel Entry requirements: Pakistan requires that travellers present a negative test done within 96 hours for some countries; others exempt. However, the US and UK are not currently exempt from the requirement of presenting this PCR test. Checkout for the list of countries that are exempt.

Children under the age of 12 and disabled passengers or travellers are reportedly exempt from the COVID-19 testing requirement regardless of where they come from. All travellers need to register with the Pass Track app (Android only) or through the web form. Arriving passengers will also be screened at the airport upon arrival.

Pakistan’s Current COVID-19 trend: Pakistan’s current trend is good. Its Coronavirus case numbers have dropped in the recent weeks and are remaining low for the time being.

Ukraine – Is Open

Travel Entry requirements: Passengers are to present a negative test within 48 hours before or upon arrival to avoid quarantine for “red zone” countries listed including the US. For those from a “red zone”, a contact tracing app must also be downloaded.

Travellers travelling from countries on the “green zone” list provided they haven’t been in a red zone for 14 days prior, there are no restrictions in effect.

Ukraine’s Current COVID-19 trend: Ukraine’s COVID-19 numbers are higher than ever. Its coronavirus case numbers are high and continuing to rise each day that goes by. Its daily deaths are also high.

The Bahamas – Open without quarantine from November 1

Travel Entry requirements: At the moment, a traveller must present a negative test within 7 days of departure, approved health visa, test on arrival and test on day 5 (cost included in visa).

The current situation in The Bahamas is a little more complicated, but with effect November 1, it will become much easier for travellers to go there.

Currently, The Bahamas is planning to reopen from October 15 but with a “vacation in place” rule for visitors. This rule requires a visitor to stay within a vacation rental or hotel for 14 days. However, from November 1 travellers who test negative in advance and upon arrival, and obtain a “health visa”, will be able to skip this quarantine.

The Bahamas Current COVID-19 trend: The Bahamas’ COVID-19 trend is rising but low overall. The Bahamas have had less than 5,000 coronavirus cases in total, and though numbers have gone up the situation seems to be under control.

Where else is open for Travellers?

These additions join a growing list of destinations that are open to most visitors, including:

  • Mexico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Bermuda
  • Colombia
  • Turkey
  • Morocco
  • Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia
  • French Polynesia
  • Maldives
  • Dubai
  • Bahrain
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Egypt

There are other countries that are open to travellers as well. Those left out are those with cumbersome travel restrictions, unclear information or infection data, or extended local curfews.

Before travelling to any of the beautiful places that made it to the list, we recommend:

  • Travellers should remain vigilant at all times not forgetting the barrier gestures, social distancing, wearing masks when possible and necessary.
  • Travellers whose health is poor should avoid travelling.
  • People over 70, those overweight and those that have respiratory problems should be health cautious during their journey.

About Travel Test Requirements…

It’s good to note that various stakeholders and governments have adapted to the new research that seems to save money and time for travellers. Different government including Uganda support the notion that the 14-day quarantines are largely unnecessary.

According to the Air Canada initial results that were derived from their recent study completed with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority that was looking at the effect of testing international travellers upon arrival shows that there is only a tiny fraction of arrivals who had COVID-19 and were not discovered with a test on arrival. It also shows that none were discovered beyond a test 7 days after arrival.

With the above data, there is hope that the two-week quarantine can become a thing of the past, replaced with quick and efficient testing protocols that have been put in place.

Good thing is that Airlines are getting involved too. With the new pre-departure testing trials, it helps improving confidence among passengers and immigration authorities.