Friday, July 19News That Matters

Civil Aviation Authority Issues Stringent COVID-19 Travel Guidelines As Gov’t Plans TO Reopen Airport

By Keefa Nuwahereza

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued new guidelines that all passengers who intend to travel via Entebbe International Airport, as a way of preventing the spread of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The development comes at a time when government  is finalizing plans of reopening Entebbe International Airport, which was closed to all passenger flights in March this year, as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Before the lockdown, Entebbe airport could handle between 90 to 120 flights daily.

According to our sources, here are some of the new regulations issued by CAA;

In the new changes, departing passengers will now be expected to arrive at the airport at least four hours before boarding to go through the health port screening procedures.

They will also be required to present a valid health certificate from the Ministry of Health- Uganda or undergo a rapid test at the airport before departure.

All arriving and departing passengers will also be expected to wear face masks and exercise social distancing when airlines resume business, according to Eng. Ayub Sooma, UCAA’s Director Airports and Aviation Security.

“The changes are in line with new guidelines issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation-ICAO, Airports Council International and the World Health Organization (WHO), as countries prepare to open airports some of which have been closed to passenger traffic for more than two months.” Eng. Sooma said.

He added that: “We are working with officials from the Ministry of Health, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs to ensure Entebbe Airport complies with the set guidelines.”

Sooma further revealed that some of the changes at the airport facilities will include providing more space for boarding lounges, installation of automatic sensor non-touchable doors and non-touchable taps, e- boarding pass readers and automated document readers to limit excessive scanning of passports.

Three big marques have already been erected to ensure passengers observe physical distancing.

Dr James Eyul, UCAA’s Aviation Medical specialist, disclosed that Health and immigration officers will be able to handle 100 passengers in the two tents for screening and processing of documents while samples will be collected from a maximum of ten passengers at the same time

However, Dr Benson Tumwesigye, who led a delegation from the Ministry of Health to inspect the airport and assess the progress of the COVID-19 measures, urged the UCCA to focus on aeration as well.

“UCAA must improve on aeration inside the tents to avoid infection. The airport can only resume passenger flights when the health ministry is satisfied that the precautionary measures are adhered to,” said Dr.Tumwesigye

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