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 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.
Sooma says that 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.
Sooma says that they are working with officials from Ministry of health, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs to ensure Entebbe Airport complies with the set guidelines.
Sooma further explains 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 marquess have already been erected to ensure passengers observe physical distancing.
Dr James Eyul, UCAA’s aviation medical specialist explains 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, says UCAA must improve on aeration inside the tents to avoid infection. He says the airport can only resume passenger flights when the health ministry is satisfied that the precautionary measures are adhered to.
President Yoweri Museveni suspended passenger flights on March 22nd to combat the spread of COVID-19. He however allowed cargo and emergency flights to continue operations. Before the lockdown, Entebbe airport could handle between 90 to 120 flights daily.