Uganda

COVID-19: IOM Supports Uganda’s preparations to reopen Entebbe International airport

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The formal handover: L-R: Uganda’s Director of Airports Ayub Sooma, IOM Chief of Mission Sanusi Tejan Savage, UN Resident Coordinator Rosa Malango, Minister of State for Transport Joy Kabatsi, and the Director General of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Fred Bamwesigye © IOM

Kampala - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is launching a project to support the Government of Uganda in reinforcing surveillance at the Entebbe International Airport and other points of entry in a bid to bolster the fight against COVID-19.

On 8 September, IOM handed over an assortment of equipment and supplies to support Entebbe Airport as it prepares to reopen to commercial traffic, after nearly six months of COVID-19 induced lockdown.

The equipment handed over included stand-alone air conditioners, automated sanitizers, automatic Computerized Thermo scanner, automatic walk-through booth disinfector with temperature reading, hand washing equipment, sanitizers, gloves and personal protective equipment.

“The equipment we have received from IOM should be able to greatly complement the measures in place to ensure a comfortable passenger experience through Entebbe International Airport,” said Joy Kabatsi, the Ugandan Minister of State in charge of Transport.

Other items are still being procured, with the total eventual contribution to the airport estimated at USD 204,000.

IOM will implement the project in partnership with the Ministries of Health, Internal Affairs as well as Works and Transport and Civil Aviation Authority and district local governments.

Denmark’s and IOM’s support at the airport will supplement earlier work by the UN World Food Programme which built a temporary screening terminal at the airport at a cost of USD 250,00 with the support of the Government of the United Kingdom.

Besides Entebbe airport, the project will also support points of entry in the southern districts of Rakai and Kyotera, bordering the United Republic of Tanzania.

While the government has been easing the lockdown imposed in March 2020 the air, land and sea borders remain closed to passenger traffic. COVID-19 cases have more than quadrupled to 4101 in the last three months.

The project will help in strengthening the capacities at points of entry and points of congregation to detect and respond to COVID-19; providing accurate mobility-related data to boost the capacity of the Government and stakeholders to address migration movements; and supporting testing facilities at Entebbe airport, Kasensero and Kyotera.

“This project aims to strengthen measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and limit loss of life. This will be done by reinforcing disease surveillance and prevention activities at Points of Entry, in accordance with International Health Regulations (IHR), said Sanusi Tejan Savage, IOM Uganda Chief of Mission.

Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator for Uganda, said the temporary terminal put up by WFP would help ensure sufficient physical distancing and isolate those suspected to have COVID-19, adding: “IOM will provide new equipment required by the Civil Aviation Authority to meet new airport safety and security standards so that the new terminal can be used.”

The new project is being funded by the Government of Denmark for USD 800,000.

For more information/media enquiries, please contact IOM Uganda Public Information Officer Richard M Kavuma: rmkavuma@iom.int | Tel: +256 772 709 917

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