It appears there is a COVID-19 results racket at Entebbe Airport.
Someone I know was traveling the other day. He went to a designated lab the day before his flight and had his sample taken.
On the day of travel, as he did his last errands, he swung by the lab to pick his results. A surprise awaited him. The results slip read, ‘POSITIVE’.
Shock! Disbelief! Anger … how?!
He had observed every SOP that there was during his short stay in Kampala. He had never felt healthier. Yet here the results were, positive.
As the first wave of panic passed, he thought of a plan. He went to another lab in a different part of town and got the test repeated. He paid a hefty 300k for the express service. A couple of hours later the result came back – NEGATIVE! Phew! Relief. That was close!
He dashed back to his lodgings, grabbed his bags, checked out of the hotel and hot footed it to Entebbe. Only to discover that the second Act of the Covid19 Travelers’ Drama was about to begin.
As he attempted to check in, he was told that he could not travel.
An officer told him that they only considered the first result, which was positive! (It appears that the labs submit results to some common database …)
Now he was truly angry. There followed heated exchanges about the authenticity of the results … both from designated labs.
He tried to call what people he knew to have influence, to no avail.
The airport staff told him that even if he were to call the ministers of Health and Transport, nothing was going to change.
They moved his bags to the side and got on with other passengers.
No longer the point of attention, and now at the end of his rope, the would-be passenger was beginning to consider his options.
Taxi. Hotel (ughhh). New ticket (Oh God!) … how to explain his absence to his bosses, who he had not told of the trip to Uganda …
A young man approached him and said he could help him get onto the flight.
‘If you are willing to pay 2 million shillings.’
‘Yes. But you do not have much time. The flight will soon close. We have been helping people like you to travel.’
To cut the shabby story short – he was led to an office where things were explained. After some haggling, the fee came down to 1.5 million. Converted on the day’s rate … dollars changed hands.
Last passenger checked in and safely boarded. Flight ready for departure. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard flight …
The next time you travel from Entebbe, you may want to double or triple mask. Take the sanitizing seriously.
The passenger next to you might have bought their negative Covid 19 test results.
Dr Olive Kobusingye