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Elegu residents appeal for massive COVID-19 test

Geoffrey Oceng Osborn RDC Amuru addressing the truckers two days into their two-week strike in Elegu border post. Photo by Michael Ojok

Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The residents of Elegu town council in Amuru district are appealing for a massive COVID-19 tests to be carried out following their interaction with truck drivers whose status is unknown. 

Over 2000 truck drivers from the East African countries recently staged a strike, parking their trucks at Elegu border post in protest of the armed attacks targeting their colleagues in South Sudan. 

Jackeline Atim, a resident of Lorikor West in Elegu town council says the drivers and residents were freely mixing and interacting without observing the standard operating procedures aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19 which includes wearing face masks, social distancing and hand washing among others. 

Atim is worried that the fact that some of the truck drivers, especially from Kenya, which has registered a surge in the virus freely mixed with the locals.

Josephine Ochaya, another resident of the area says that even though the drivers could have been tested from their countries of origin or upon entrance into Uganda, they could have contracted COVID-19 on their way to Elegu.

Ochaya wants the government to conduct a massive test and also vaccinate them since they stand a high chance of contracting the contagion given the level of exposure to the drivers. 

Kassim Akule, the LCI chairperson Lorikor West in Elegu town council confirmed the interaction between the drivers and residents in the town council. Akule says that mostly the restaurant operators and juice dealers heavily interacted with the drivers from within and outside the BLD parking lots and streets.

Patrick Odong Olwedo, the Amuru District Health Officer says that currently they are prioritizing vaccinating truck drivers. According to Olwedo, they are writing a concept to both the Ministry of Health and Inter-governmental Authority on Development – IGAD seeking for at least 10,000 test kits which he says are yet to get feedback on.

Over 2,000 truck drivers tested positive for COVID-19 from the Elegu border entry point last year when the pandemic was at its peak. 



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