Ugandan government sets new strict rules on refugees in the wake of Covid-19

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The office of the prime minister has come out to address the public about the refugee control measures in a bid to control the widespread of Covid-19.

On Saturday, 21st 2020, Uganda registered its first Covid-19 patient who is a 36-year old Ugandan who was from Dubai.

Eng. Hilary Onek, the Minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees issued a statement on behalf of the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda addressing how Uganda was going to contain and handle the refugees at this time of pandemic.

He noted out that asylum seekers already at the Reception, Transit Centers and in refugee’s settlement must be screened for Coronavirus and UNHCR working with partners must ensure immediate availability of screening gadgets, adequate health workers and facilitation for this purpose.

He added that UNHCR must provide hand sanitizers and other relevant protective gears to frontline staff in all Transit and Reception Centers as well as to all refugee settlement staff.

In addition, he noted that, in liaison with the settlement commandants, hand washing facilities must be established at Transit and Reception Centers and all refugee settlements including the DOR Kampala.

“Isolation Centers and quarantine spaces at all Transit AND Reception Centers and Refugee settlements to manage all confirmed cases must be established by UNHCR with the help of medical service providers in refugee hosting districts and relevant IPs and Ops.”, said Eng. Hilary Onek.

He further stated that a communication and information dissemination strategy on Covid-19 preparedness measures by the president and these supplementary measures should be developed and implemented in all settlements. The leadership of the Transit and Reception Centers as well as refugee settlements should ensure adherence, conformity and compliance to the Presidential and supplementary Covid-19 preparedness measures.

Minister Onek said that the ministry of health in collaboration with RDOs and other stakeholders should institute, surveillance mechanisms to detect and likely occurrence of community population.

“The RDOs and Settlement Commandants must ensure that Transit and Reception centers and any crowding points within the refugee settlements are de-congested immediately, minimized or avoided.”, insisted the minister.

For the new asylum seeker arrivals, the minister argued that with immediate effect, no new asylum seeker arrivals will be received within the country in a period of 30 days.

All Transit and Reception centers including DOR/ Kampala and Old Kampala police Desk Refugee officer shall be closed to new asylum seeker arrivals for a period of 30 days.

He called upon the security to hereby to join to ensure strict compliance to this guidance.

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