Safari, Test and Fly laboratories to meet part of Passengers flight costs

Over 100 passengers who were scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) aboard Emirates flight number EK730 at 18:45hours on Tuesday September 14, missed their flight due to late arrival at Entebbe airport following a delay in getting their COVID-19 PCR test results.

Vianney Luggya the Public Relations Manager for Uganda Civil Aviation Authority

Passengers traveling from Uganda to UAE are required by the destination to have an additional COVID-19 PCR test certificate issued within six hours prior to departure. One test ought to be undertaken 48 hours prior and another test taken within six hour before departure. This requirement is only for UAE and currently applies to Fly Dubai and Emirates airlines who fly to that destination.

According to Vianney Luggya, the Public relations manager for the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), Safari lab is now undertaking the tests again, free of charge to mitigate the unfortunate incident which happened yesterday. The lab is also engaging with the airline to see how they can meet the extra cost which is usually charged in case someone misses their flight.

He however, noted that the COVID-19 PCR test required by UAE, is not related to the regular testing exercise conducted on arriving passengers as a requirement by the ministry of health. The two private laboratories have been testing Emirates passengers ever since travel restrictions to Dubai were eased about a month ago.

Andrew Nsawotebba the manager for Test and Fly said, most of the passengers who missed the flight, had tested with Safari laboratory. Whereas Nsawotebba could not explain what caused the delay, a source within the testing facility intimated that Safari lab, was introducing a new system through which the results can be reported. “This was the probable cause of such delays,” noted a source. However, Luggya said, investigations are still ongoing.

Exchange between Prime minister and minister of health

There was reportedly a verbal exchange between the prime minister Robinah Nabbanja and Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng the minister for health during their tour around Entebbe airport and the testing centre on Sunday. Sprouting from the testing procedures which the prime minister was reportedly not happy about, the exchange even compelled Dr. Aceng to bang tables during the meeting which was held in the Airport boardroom.

“The prime minister was against a decision by the health ministry to allow private companies to take charge of all the testing whereas Dr. Aceng was on the other hand complaining of the low government funding towards COVID-19 response and testing,” confided a source which attended the meeting. Minister Aceng turned down all media side-interviews after the meeting before leaving the airport.

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