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Truckers Must Have Certificates of COVID-19 Tests before Departure – EAC Leaders

In a videoconference summit on Tuesday morning, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya indicated the need to address the truck drivers, now seen as the weak link to spread the virus. President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania and Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi did not participate in the summit. It is still not clear why.
Truck drivers are seen as a weak link to spreading coronavirus
Truck drivers will be required to have tested and carry certificates before they depart to different countries in the region, East African Community heads of state have said.

In a videoconference summit on Tuesday morning, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda,Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya indicated the need to address the truck drivers, now seen as the weak link to spread the virus. President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania and Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi did not participate in the summit. It is still not clear why.

EAC presidents said in a communique that the partner states’ Ministers of Health, Trade and focal point persons “immediately work on a regional mechanism for testing and certification of truck drivers prior to their departure at the point of origin and every two weeks, and report to the heads of state.”

The summit also directed that the ministers responsible for health, trade, transport and EAC affairs finalise and adopt an EAC digital surveillance and tracking system for drivers and crew on COVID-19 for immediate use…”

The region has confirmed up to 1,800 cases of coronavirus. At least 54 people have died while 626 have recovered. In recent times, truck drivers constitute the highest number of those being confirmed with the virus. Uganda has 122 cases confirmed so far, more than 60 of them being truck drivers entering Uganda from Kenya and Tanzania.

The trucks transport goods from the coastline through Tanzania and Kenya, through Uganda to the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and other countries. But Ugandans are concerned that along the long haul, truckers come into contact with communities and could easily facilitate person to person transmission of the lethal virus.

While Ugandans have been urging leaders to ban truck drivers, the idea has been rejected by President Museveni as suicidal. He says that goods have to move is a risk the country can take.

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