Immigrations Stuck with 1500 Passports of People Quarantined During Lockdown

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The Immigrations Directorate in the Internal Affairs Ministry is stuck with 1504 passports of people who were quarantined during the Covid-19 lockdown. Jacob Siminyu, the Internal Affairs Ministry Spokesperson, says the passports were confiscated during lockdown since it was one of the ways to keep track of people returning to the country. 

Siminyu says that the Immigrations directorate kept more than 3000 passports of returnees but half of them claimed their travel documents whereas the other half hasn’t bothered. The Immigrations directorate said it has tried to contact the owners to pick their passports in vain.

“Most of these passports are still valid and are electronic. We ask people to come and pick their passports because getting another one is not an easy task. You will need a police letter, an affidavit from the commissioner of oaths and a fine of not less than Shillings 100000,” Siminyu said.

As Covid19 cases soared across the globe, the World Health Organization –WHO advised countries to imposed a lockdown as one of the ways to curtail the spread of the pandemic. Uganda went into lockdown on March 18. All those that returned before the government lifted the lockdown were subjected to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

However, a number of people especially those that found the conditions in quarantine centers intolerable escaped despite the presence of both uniformed and ununiformed police and military personnel. Siminyu could not verify whether the 1504 passports belong to people who escaped from quarantine centers.

According to Siminyu, they will keep reminding owners of the passports to pick them. In a related development, the Internal Affairs Ministry has announced plans to use security personnel to chase people congesting their headquarters along Old Port bell road.

“There is no the reason, why you should come at 7, am when your appointment is at 3 pm. We are warning Labour export companies to stop bringing people very early in the morning. You cannot keep someone standing for more than 5 hours,” Siminyu said.

A number of women told URN that they had been dumped at the offices by a taxi hired by their Labour exporting agency as early as 8 am. Some said they had arrived at the ministry at 5 am from Namayingo, Jinja and Mayuge districts.

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