Uganda’s Government has extended the stay of foreigners in the country whose visas expired during the COVID-19 lockdown. The Government initially allowed foreigners whose visas expired during the lockdown to stay in the country up to 17th May 2020.
The Government did this after it closed all the international borders and the airport and suspended any coming in or moving out of the country by anyone in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The grace period of foreigners with expired visas elapsed on Sunday last week and many of them were in fear of what to do next since the country remains under lockdown.
However, speaking to journalists at Uganda Media Center today Tuesday, the Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson Jacob Siminyu today said that the illegal stay of foreigners will be extended until the lockdown is lifted.
“We have foreigners whom we issued a notice waiving their illegal stay in Uganda until 17th May. This has expired but at least now we know the lockdown has been extended and we know it will be lifted or on 2nd June. So we are going to issue another statement extending the amnesty for foreigners to the time when the lockdown is expired,” Siminyu told reporters.
To the people who would want to have their passports, Simiyu said these will have to wait until the lockdown is lifted.
Although President Museveni last evening further eased the lockdown to allow public and private transport to resume operations, this will come into effect on 2nd June after Government has provided face masks to all Ugandans in an effort to contain the widespread of novel Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Siminyu said there is a number of foreign truck drivers who are stranded at the Ugandan borders because they were checked for COVID-19 from their places of origin but don’t have results.
“Health Ministry will give us the record of those drivers so that we can allow them into the country. Otherwise they will have to be tested again,” he said.
On Saturday last week, the National Task Force on COVID-19 chaired by President Museveni passed a directive to allow only COVID-19 negative truck drivers enter Uganda.
This resolution was reached after the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases rapidly increased in Uganda as a result of foreign truck drivers testing positive for the COVID-19 within the country.
Meanwhile, those who were earlier tested from their respective places of origin, Siminyu said will only have their results authenticated by the Ministry of Health.
He added that initially, the Health Ministry was not issuing results to truck drivers who tested negative for COVID-19 but that has changed. All the negative COVID-19 truck drivers will also be issued with results to enable them enter the country.
“So we have asked the Health Ministry to start to start issuing results to those (truck drivers) who are negative as well because they need them to enter the country,” he said.