Only 10 high risk travelers apply to stay in public quarantine facilities

The first group of high risk travellers is expected to arrive in the country this week

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Only ten Ugandan high-risk travellers have applied to undergo their institutional quarantine in public centres, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH). 

The first group consisting of 300 high-risk travellers from different parts of the world is expected to arrive in the country this week. However, information coming in from the health ministry shows that public centres are less popular than hotels.  

According to the health ministry, all the high-risk travellers who will be returning have been given a list of different institutions from which they can observe their 14-day mandatory quarantine. 

But, even with an ability to take in as many as 100 travellers,  many of the travellers would rather stay in hotels where some might need to pay as much as USD 100 ( 370,000 Shillings) per day than withstand the conditions in public quarantine institutions.

Dr Richard Mugahi, the person in charge of quarantine centres says that most people want to stay in hotels because the public institutions are not as good as the private ones that offer a number of services like television and air conditioning. He says only 10 people have shown interest to stay at the facilities.

Dr Mugahi adds that the conditions at the public centres cannot be the same as these found in hotels because the facilities are located at schools that have been turned into institutional quarantine centres.

The travellers in these facilities unlike their counterparts elsewhere will not pay for any of the services they will receive. They will receive four meals a day, have running waters, electricity where possible and a mattress fitted with a mosquito net. According to the health ministry, the facilities are set up to help travellers who cannot afford to pay the fees charged in hotels.

Dr Mugahi says that they have agreed with hotel owners to subsidise prices. “We have talked to them and some of them will pay as low as 40 dollars (shillings 149,200) and this will cover full board which includes all meals.”

Three months ago, the government had as many as 118 quarantine centres. Some of the hotels used as centres were Protea, Arch Apartments and Hotel, Nyumbani Hotel and  Emin Pasha. Some of the schools that were used are the Institute of Survey and Land Management and the Fisheries Training Institute Entebbe.

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Currently, a total of 1,420 people are under quarantine in 72 institutions across the country. 62 are public institutions while 10 are private hotel facilities that are being used. 300 Ugandans are currently booked into the hotels.

Dr Mugahi adds that few travellers will be allowed into the country at any given time.”We only have space to take in 100 people in our public institutions. While the hotels can take in as many as 2,000 people, the country can only accommodate 300 travellers every two weeks,” he said.

According to the health ministry, the travellers will have to under three COVID-19 tests during their quarantine period. In addition to this, they have to undergo constant medical checks and even be isolated.