The government collected more than 17.6 Billion Shillings from the mandatory COVID-19 testing for all incoming travelers. The testing was introduced on October 23, 2021, targeting all travelers entering the country.
All the travelers irrespective of whether they were vaccinated or not had to undergo the testing at the airport and present their contact information to enable easy follow-up of positive cases.
According to figures from the health ministry, a total of 171,000 incoming travelers were tested between October and February 15, 2022, when the mandatory testing for incoming passengers was stopped. Records further show that from the tests carried out, only 167,579 paid for testing fees while 3,421 persons mainly migrant workers from Dubai didn’t pay for the tests.
The testing was made mandatory by the health ministry in October as a means to prevent the entry and spread of new COVID-19 variants into the country.
Following a cabinet meeting, the health ministry was tasked with carrying out the testing while Post Bank Uganda Limited was in charge of collecting the money.
Jacob Ampeire, a public relations officer at the health ministry says all the money will be transferred to the treasury.
“Our duty was to carry out testing and that is what we did. Post bank was in charge of the money and that money will eventually end up at the treasury,” he said.
With the temporary halting of the mandatory testing, authorities at the airport say the testing centres at the airport will not be closed.
Dr. Andrew Tebba, the head of Entebbe Airport COVID-19 laboratory says the testing facilities will remain open and staff downsized to handle the few cases that might need testing.
“We are downsizing operations at the laboratory and now assessing our human resource needs. We had many workers during the mandatory testing exercise but we shall have only a few to support swabbing, testing, and surveillance because we shall continue testing travelers who have expired test results and those who will have symptoms on arrival. These tests will be free,” he said.