Uganda Airlines has announced planned suspension of flights to Mogadishu, Kilimanjaro, Mombasa, Zanzibar and Nairobi due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.“Following the spread of COVID-19 and the control measures put in place by various countries to contain its spread; in compliance with health and safety guidelines, operational requirements and regulatory obligations, we wish to communicate changes to flight operations,” reads a statement from Uganda Airlines.
According to the statement, Uganda Airlines’ flights to Kilimanjaro will be suspended effective March 20, 2020, Mombasa effective March 22, 2020 and Zanzibar effective March 23, 2020.
“Flight No. UR520/521 Entebbe to Mogadishu is suspended effective Thursday 19th March 2020. All operations to Somalia suspended until further notice. Reduced frequency for Entebbe, Nairobi, flight no UR206/207 (afternoon) will be suspended effective Monday 23rd March till further notice. The rest of the flights UR202/203 (morning) and UR204/205 (evening) will remain in operation,” further reads the statement.
The statement posted on Tuesday evening also says Uganda Airline flight no UR360/361 from Entebbe airport to Bujumbura will be suspended effectible March 22 until further notice. Since its outbreak in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, about 200,000 people across over 152 countries have tested positive for coronavirus infection.
In Africa, over 300 cases in 31 countries have been recorded. The cases in Rwanda and Kenya has triggered anxiety in Uganda, which to date has not recorded a single case. On Thursday, President Yoweri Museveni announced the closure of all schools, churches and ban of other mass gatherings for at least 32 days.
Museveni also announced a travel ban to and through high-risk countries including Italy, San Marino, Iran, South Korea, France, China, Germany, Spain, Belgium, USA, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Austria, and Malaysia.
Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has called for calm in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in some East African countries, saying the ministry is moving the country’s preparedness level from ordinary to advanced level.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) which declared the disease a pandemic believes that collective effort in fighting the disease can have a big impact. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general recently called upon the entire world to play their part in fighting the disease.”This disease affects everybody. Governments, people and companies all have a part to play. This is a pandemic that can be controlled and overcome if everyone plays their part,” Dr Tedros said.