Tears as Travellers are Turned-away over Covid-19 Test Certificates

At least 50 travellers have so far missed their flights out of Entebbe International Airport for possessing invalid COVID19 negative test certificates.

It is a requirement for all travellers to present a negative PCR (COVID-19) test certificate, issued within 120 hours before their departure and 72 hours for incoming passengers.

Since the October 1 re-opening of the airport, an average of 14 flights are handled at Entebbe everyday with passengers having to go through stringent checks to ensure compliance to the Covid-19 guidelines.

According to information obtained from the airport,  more than 50 departing passengers have missed their flights because of failure to present valid negative Covid-19 test certificates.

For instance, on October 2, health workers blocked 45 passengers from boarding a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after they presented expired negative test certificates.

Their certificates had been issued on September 28; four days before their travel date.

Even if they were to be allowed to take their flights, they would have been turned away on arrival in Dubai since UAE accepts certificates issued within 96 hours of  travel.

This applies to all passengers whose final destination is Dubai or connecting to other destinations through Dubai.

On October 7, a Ugandan lady and three children missed their flight to Tunisia after they presented to immigration official Covid-19 test certificates that had been on September 16 – three weeks before their travel date. 

By the time she secured the valid certificates, the plane had already departed from Entebbe Airport.

The same happened to another female Ugandan, who missed her flight to Dubai on October 8. Not even her tears could save her as health workers turned her away.

 “It is painful that my certificate expired and yet my employer has been waiting for me to travel since July,” she lamented.

She had secured a job as a domestic worker in the UAE, and had to reschedule her flight at a cost of $150 (Shs 555,000).

 A mother who spoke on condition of anonymity told URN how her son traveling to Canada for studies almost missed his flight because of the delayed release of the test results by Makerere University Hospital.

The results were released ten minutes to 3 pm.

She explains that it would have been detrimental for her son because Canadian universities opened last month and international students will be admitted this week.

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