By Elias Biryabarema
KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda said on Thursday it would reopen its sole international airport to commercial flights on Oct. 1, more than five months after its closure as a measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the East African nation.
The move is the latest in a series of steps by the government of President Yoweri Museveni to gradually lift one of Africa's tightest lockdowns and rejuvenate the economy, badly hurt by the shutdown.
"We're preparing to open for resumption of flights on Oct. 1," spokesman for the country's state-run Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Vianney Lugya, said of Entebbe International Airport.
Lugya said a raft of new procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the airport were being worked on ahead of re-opening but that among them arriving passengers would be required to have a coronavirus-free certificate from their countries of origin obtained 72 hours before travel.
He said they had already notified all airlines that operate out of the airport, including among others KLM, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Brussels Airlines, Kenya Airways.
Uganda imposed one of Africa's toughest anti-coronavirus lockdowns, including sealing all borders, closure of nearly all businesses and halting movement of both public and private vehicles. Public gatherings were also banned.
Most of measures have since been removed but schools, churches and bars remain closed.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Toby Chopra)