Breaking

270 Ugandans Return From United Arab Emirates

Top story
This is the biggest group to arrive from a same location ever since the repatriation flights commenced last week due to the Covid19 lock down. The latest group brings to 674, the number of returnees to the country.
Hygienists disinfecting returnees from the United Arab Emirates.

Audio 1

270 Ugandans and legal residents returned from the United Arab Emirates-UAE on Friday aboard Emirates Airlines. The Emirates plane touched down at Entebbe International Airport around 5pm.

This is the biggest group to arrive from a same location ever since the repatriation flights commenced last week due to the Covid19 lock down. The latest group brings to 674, the number of returnees to the country.

The returnees include business people, students, external laborer and expatriates who got stranded in various cities in UAE such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Alkhaima among others following the closure of Uganda’s borders. Some of the expatriates lost their jobs due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.  

Shortly after touching down, the passengers started disembarking one by one to ensure physical distancing. All passengers wore face masks. Most of the passengers disembarked quietly from the plane while some passengers raised their hands in excitement.

The returnees made a long queue from the entrance of the arrival section to where the plane had parked. Three airport officials kept monitoring the queue to ensure the returnees observe social distancing. Two hygienists stood at the entrance of the arrival section to disinfect the passengers. 

After disinfection, each returnee was received by officials from Health and Foreign Affairs Ministries who stood a few meters from the entrance of the arrival section. The passengers proceeded to the arrival section where they were screened and handed over their travel documents to immigration officers. 

The Health Ministry has deployed 8 health workers to screen the returnees. Some of the health workers and immigration officers say they get overwhelmed whenever there are over 100 people. Before boarding the flight at Dubai International Airport, the group was flagged off by Uganda's Ambassador to UAE, Zaake Kibedi Wanume and other Mission Staff. 

Wanume told the media recently that the embassy is arranging other flights since it registered 1, 500 Ugandan stranded in UAE who want to return home. He explained that those who returned on Friday are mainly those who registered first or are special cases such as are expectant mothers and the terminally ill. However, 21 returnees didn’t board the flight. 

Ambassador Alfred Naam, the Spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry explains that some people could have failed to return after failing to secure or top up payment for their air tickets.   

//Cue in: “The variation in….         

Cue out:…variation takes place.”//       

    

Another 150 Ugandans and legal residents are expected to arrive in the country from India today. This will bring the total number of returnees to 824. Flights will resume after two weeks, according to the latest directive from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to bring in more Ugandans.