The Police and the Ministry of Health officials on Saturday flushed out over 50 Chinese nationalities and two Eritreans who reportedly sneaked out of quarantine centre and had lied they were in a quarantine center but yet they were holed up in Tirupati apartments in Naguru.
The operation to flush out the Chinese started at around 5:00pm after neighbors within the other apartments protested the preferential treatments the Government had given the Chinese after being sneaked on Wednesday night from the Airport. Also arrested were six Ugandan women who were taking care of them.
On Friday morning Ministry of Health officials had visited the apartments and tested about 14 Chinese but efforts by neighbors to inform the officials that the number that had arrived on Wednesday night was more 14 fell on deaf ears prompting the Saturday protests.
"We sent the team video recording of these suspicious people who were brought in on Wednesday night aboard an Imperial Royale bus but nobody paid attention until they forced them to open their doors only for them to find over 50 people inside that house. They were not known to us," a neighbor who stays at the apartments told New Vision.
On Friday, 6 Chinese nationals who Police says sneaked from the same Naguru apartments were arrested in Zombo on their way to Congo on Friday after the escaped being quarantine in Naguru.
The Health Minister Ruth Aceng confirmed the arrests noting that the 6 would face courts of law accordingly. "In any case, they only had entry permits into Uganda and not for the DRC where they intended to go and this will be addressed accordingly in the court of law."
The New Vision has also learnt that when the Ministry of Health officials visited the apartments on Friday, they had agreed with the Chinese embassy officials that their nationals who had been tested be quarantined Red Sun Inn in Naguru.
Efforts to speak to the Chinese embassy about the new developments proved futile.
In a statement issued by the embassy on Friday, it noted that "Embassy wishes to state that the Red Sun Inn in Naguru has been a certified institutional quarantine center for COVID-19 by the Ministry of Health since March 18."
According to the embassy, a total of 14 Chinese nationals, after regular immigration and scanning process, were put under institutional quarantine in the Red Sun Inn, from March 18, with the approval from the Ministry of Health and with Ugandan police stationed there to affect the quarantine.
The statement said the Ugandan Authorities, including the Ministry of Health and Uganda Police, double-checked with the situation of these 14 Chinese nationals on Friday and were pleased to leave them that way.
"It is important to note that there are three categories of guests currently in Red Sun Inn, apart from the 14, there are regular long-time guests, and those on self-quarantines," the statement says.
The embassy noted that all relevant Chinese citizens have gone through regular immigration and scanning processed before entering into Uganda via Entebbe International Airport. However, the Chinese nationals were left to stay at the apartments.
"The Red Sun In that they were supposed to be quarantined is a self-given name for the apartments that is run a Chinese woman within the apartments called Big Mama. She is renting out about 4 apartments and calling it Red Sun within Tirupati Apartments. We live there and we know," a neighbor said.
Aceng noted that the foreigners who were not willing to complete the 14 days quarantine period set by the Government should ask their countries to organize and evacuate them if they can.
The Minister noted that they did not encourage people to move out of their areas of quarantine when they develop signs and symptoms. They must stay put and call the toll free numbers or numbers of the officers that we have provided so that they are safely evacuated to the isolation facilities.
"Moving out of your area of quarantine predisposes others to infection and also when you come into contact with workers who are not fully dressed in protective gear it exposes them to infection," the minister noted.