Uganda says it is launching mandatory testing for all people arriving in the country via land border points to check the sudden rise in Covid-19 cases with the Omicron variant.
Dr Henry G Mwebesa, the country’s Director-General for Health Services announced on Friday the compulsory testing will be done at all land borders points including Malaba and Busia with Kenya, Elegu with South Sudan as well as Mutukula and Mpondwe.
The decision, he said in a statement, follows detection of more variants of Omicron imported from neighbouring countries in travellers who arrived via Entebbe International Airport.
“The Ministry (of Health) is also intensifying mandatory testing, and follow up of cases for all incoming travellers at the five major points of entry,” Dr Mwebesa said of the key border points with Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
“The testing will be implemented by the private sector already existing at the points of entry as the Ministry of Health builds adequate capacity to take over, just as we did at Entebbe International Airport.”
The change in policy, he argued, was informed by the rise in the number of people testing positive from neighbouring countries. Previously, arrivals via land border were only required to show a valid negative PCR certificate obtained from an accredited lab in their countries of origin.
The country, which has been under lockdown since July, reported 255 new cases of Covid-19, among them 25 cases of Omicron variant. It raised the positivity rate to 3.7 percent.