26 MEMBERS of the Watoto Children’s Choir are among a group of 276 Ugandans, Uganda residents and dependent pass holders who were stranded in the USA due to the COVID-19 pandemic now returned home by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Aboard Ethiopian Airlines, the group arrives at Entebbe International Airport today Saturday July 18th 2020.
At Dulles International Airport in USA, the group was yesterday 17th July 2020 seen off by the Ambassador of Uganda to the USA, South America and the Caribbean, H.E. Mull Sebujja Katende who was flanked by Deputy Chief of Mission, Amb. Santa Mary Laker-Kinyera, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations, Amb. Adonia Ayebare and the staff of the Uganda Embassy.
A second group of 88 passengers will depart from Canada, South America and the Caribbean today 18th July 2020 transiting through Addis Ababa and arrive in Entebbe on 19th July 2020.
According to the press statement released by Madam Margaret Kafeero at the Uganda Embassy in Washington DC last night, travellers from the US and Caribbean included Ugandans, legal residents and their dependants, affected by the March 23rd closure of Entebbe Airport due to COVID-19 concerns.
“The majority of passengers are holders of US visitors visas, F1 and J1 student and research fellow visas and Ugandan resident permit holders who were unable to travel back to Uganda when the airport was closed.” Reads the statement.
The Uganda Embassies in North America also registered a number of stranded Ugandans who had traveled for medical reasons.
Given the closure of numerous borders in both North and South America due to COVID-19 concerns and visa limitations of several of the affected persons it was necessary to create multiple departure locations, to ensure that everyone who could do so was afforded an opportunity to return.
Amb. Katende explained that the registration and repatriation process, though complex, due to the size of the area of accreditation, had been made possible by the seamless coordination and teamwork of the staff at the three Embassies of Uganda in Washington DC, New York and Ottawa. He paid tribute to his colleagues Amb. Adonia Ayebare (PR New York) and Amb. Jane Ruth Acheng (Ottawa), the management of Ethiopian Airlines and Mr. Mukesh Sahu of Satguru Travel Solutions for their tireless efforts to reach out and provide guidance to the stranded Ugandans.
He thanked the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health for putting in place clear guidelines and standard operating procedures to ensure that travellers do not just return to Uganda but ensured that they do so safely.