Uganda Suspends Mandatory Covid-19 Testing At Entebbe Airport – February 2022

Effective February 16, 2022, Uganda suspends mandatory Covid-19 testing at Entebbe Airport.

The suspension of mandatory Covid-19 testing on arrival in Uganda followed a cabinet decision made on Monday, February 14, 2022. To this end, a press statement signed off by the Director of General Health Services, Ministry of Health, Dr. Henry G. Mwebesa, reads in part that the mandatory COVID-19 testing of all incoming travelers at Entebbe international airport upon arrival has been stopped with effect from February 16, 2022.

The development comes as a sigh of relief to visitors on Uganda safaris who had to part with a mandatory 30 USD to enter the country. These included visitors on Uganda wildlife safaris to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park; visitors on Uganda gorilla safaris/Uganda gorilla trekking tours to Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park; visitors on Chimpanzee trekking Uganda tours in Kibale National Park; visitors on Uganda birding tours, and other Uganda safari tours

Mandatory COVID-19 testing for arriving travelers was introduced in Uganda in October 2021 to curb the importation of the deadly coronavirus variants into the country, curb further transmission and guard against a third wave. This followed the detection of more variants of Omicron imported from neighboring countries in travelers who arrived via the Entebbe International Airport.

Although Covid-19 testing on arrival has now been suspended, the requirement to have a negative PCR test no less than 72 hours before arriving or departing from Uganda is still in place. This is regardless of vaccination status and where you start your journey/safari to Uganda.

Why Mandatory Covid-19 Testing For Arriving Travelers Suspended?

According to the statement released by the Ministry of Health, the suspension of mandatory testing is informed by:

  • The decline in positive COVID-19 cases identified at the airport
  • Reduction in global threat of new variants of concern and therefore reduced risk of importation of variants of concern that will increase community transmission

Records from the Ministry of Health show that the number of new COVID-19 cases in Uganda has gone down. The positivity rate in the country currently stands at 1%.

COVID cases in Uganda as of February 17, 2022, stand at 162,932 cumulative cases, 99,727 cumulative recoveries, and 3,582 deaths.

The director-general of health services, Dr. Henry G Mwebesa says the new measures are a result of few travelers testing positive for the disease. Mwebesa, however, quickly adds that the new measures only stop mandatory testing at Entebbe International Airport.

He says all travelers including those on Uganda safari trips, entering and leaving the country will however be required to present a 72-hour negative COVID-19 test.

” The requirement for COVID-19 testing 72 hours before boarding for both incoming and exiting traveled remains in effect. Our health workers will continue to screen all travelers both at arrival and departure and verify their COVID-19 test certificates,” said Dr. Mwebesa.

The minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng in an interview indicated that the testing had been suspended for now but can be re-introduced when there is an increase in coronavirus cases.

COVID-19 Requirements For Arriving Travellers That Are Still in Effect

According to Uganda Civil Avian Authority (CAA), you are required to enter Uganda on certain conditions:

  1. Arriving passengers should hold a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate issued within 72 hours from the time of sample collection to boarding aircraft leaving the country of origin.
  2. Children below six (6) years will be exempted from the requirement for a negative PCR test certificate if they are accompanied by parents holding a negative COVID -19 PCR test certificate.
  3. All travelers will continue to be screened both, at arrival and departure and verily their COVlD19 test certificates.
  4. All passengers whose body temperature is not above 37.5° C (99.5°F), who do not have a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing or other flu-like symptoms shall be allowed to enter or depart Uganda.
  5. Entebbe International Airport Port Health shall approve for arrival or departure a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate undertaken within 72 hours from the time of sample collection. This excludes transit time at the terminal building.
  6. Travellers who have had COVID-19 vaccination and hold certificates must still present a negative COVID-1 9 PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours from the time of sample collection to boarding aircraft. This is because the vaccine is not 100% protective, and it also takes several days/weeks to be in protection.

The Arrival Procedures At Entebbe Airport Now Follow This Order:

  • Wear your facemask properly and get off the plane before everyone else
  • Sanitize/wash your hands
  • Go through the recommended Port health procedure of identifying body temperature and COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have your travel documents checked: passport, negative PCR test certificate from the country where you start your journey, and Yellow Fever certificate.
  • The mandatory PCR test has been suspended effective February 16th, 2022*
  • Immigration (please ensure you pay for your Uganda Visa online in advance/before arrival in Uganda via https://visas.immigration.go.ug/). Also, ensure you travel to Uganda with a printed copy of the Uganda Visa confirmation document.
  • Collect your checked-in luggage
  • Pass luggage (including cabin bags) through the scanner
  • If you are a tourist/visitor on a safari in Uganda, you may be met by a representative of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB). Uganda Tourism Board has a tourist information desk and comfortable seating area just past the baggage collection area.
  • From there, your Uganda safari driver guide will be informed when you are ready to be taken. Please note our comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle will be branded.
  • Exit airport
  • Enjoy fabulous Ugandan weather and your Uganda safari holiday/Uganda trip.

Current COVID-19 Requirements Departing Travellers

Passengers departing Uganda through Entebbe International Airport (EIA) must have an authentic negative COVID-1 9 PCR test certificate issued within 72 hours from the time of sample collection to boarding aircraft. In case the destination country’s PCR test time requirements defer, they take priority.

All COV1D-19 PCR test certificates for departing passengers MUST indicate TRAVEL as the intended purpose of the test.

Passengers departing Entebbe International Airport are required to know, understand, and interpret COVID-1 9 requirements of the country they are traveling to.

Children below six (6) years will be exempted from the requirement for a negative PCR test certificate if they are accompanied by parents holding a negative COVID -19 PCR test certificate.

Conclusion

Are you planning a safari in Uganda soon? The COVID-19 pandemic situation in Uganda has improved a lot from what it was during the Delta variant in mid-2021 and the Omicron variant spread that took the country by storm towards the end of the year 2021.

As of now, there is no lockdown in Uganda.  The country has fully opened. The guidelines are being relaxed favoring travel. Uganda has also been kicked off the red list of many countries which had prohibited travel to and from Uganda. Vaccines have been acquired and the population is being vaccinated. You can now go ahead with planning your Uganda safari tours. This is in fact a good time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda, chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, and enjoy Uganda wildlife safari tours to Murchison Falls National Park and other big game parks in Uganda before the crowds return. This is also the right time for birding tours in Uganda.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions/concerns about gorilla trekking in Uganda/Uganda gorilla safaris and we will be more than happy to assist you.

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