Travellers entering Uganda will no longer be required to test for Covid-19 at its border points as long as they are fully vaccinated, the health authorities have announced.
The government has also ordered private laboratories conducting the tests at various points of entry to vacate the premises.
The directives are contained in a letter dated March 28 by the director-general of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr Henry Mwebesa. It is addressed to district health officers in border districts like Busia, Tororo, Kasese, Kabale, and Ntungamo.
“Covid-19 results are currently not required for fully vaccinated travellers, including truck drivers, to cross the land border of entry. This is, therefore, to request all private labs to exit border points of entry premises immediately as it is no longer necessary to conduct any Covid-19 tests at the border points,” Dr Mwebesa wrote.
The move, he said, is to ensure that Kampala complies with the East African Community Council of Minister’s directive for the meeting held in January, in which it was agreed to ease inter-country pandemic restrictions to fast-track regional economic recovery.
In a notice to the public dated March 29, Dr Mwebesa said that a top management meeting between the ministry and its partners had resolved that a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours remains a requirement for all passengers at the Entebbe International Airport.
Uganda, which instituted one of the world’s toughest Covid-19 restrictions, has been gradually opening up since January, ending a two-year ban on schools and night-time business activities.
The country has registered a gradual decline in new coronavirus cases from community transmissions and imported ones.
Authorities have also stepped up vaccination with mass drives, especially in rural areas, although there has been a countrywide low vaccine uptake.
As at March 30, the country had recorded a cumulative number of 163,892 cases since the pandemic outbreak.
A total of 18 million doses Covid-19 vaccines have been administered as of Thursday.