KAMPALA - Uganda is temporarily opening part of its border to allow at least 3,000 Congolese refugees into the country.
They are believed to be fleeing inter-communal violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda hosts more than 1,000,000 refugees but closed its borders in March to control the spread of coronavirus.
For more than a month thousands of displaced people have been stuck in DR Congo’s Ituri region trying to seek safety in northern Uganda.
The government in Kampala finally agreed to give them entry on humanitarian grounds.They will first spend 14 days quarantined at a newly set-up isolation centre, 13km (8 miles) from the border.
The UN’s refugee agency says sample testing will be carried out on the group to see if coronavirus is present among them.
This will help authorities decide when they can be transferred to camps.
Aid agencies have talked about the difficulties of ensuring social distancing and sanitation in refugee settlements.
Fifty-two refugees have so far tested positive for Covid-19 in Uganda out of nearly 900 confirmed cases.
The UN says it is concerned about reports of rising violence in DR Congo where five million people are internally displaced.(FA)