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Truck drivers send Uganda COVID-19 tally to 74

Transit trucks crossing Malaba border to Uganda. PHOTO JIMMY SIYA

🔹11 new cases, all truck drivers.
🔹 6 from Tanzania
🔹 5 from Kenya
✳ 17,388 tests
✳ 74 confirmed cases
✳ 46 recoveries
✳ 29 active cases
✳ 0 deaths

Malaba, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | With six Kenyan and five Tanzanian truck drivers testing positive on Friday, Ugandan officials will now face pressure to put in place new measures at the borders.

“We tested a total of 1,331 samples today. Of these, 1,020 samples are from truck drivers while all 311 samples from the community and individuals in quarantine tested negative for COVID-19, ” Health Miniser Ruth Aceng revealed on Thursday night.

Eleven new COVID-19 cases were confirmed, sending Uganda’s total of COVID positives to 74

Speaking to the media at the Uganda Media Centre earlier, Gen. Jeje Odongo, the minister in charge of Internal Affairs, said the government is actually considering a number of options to ensure that truck driver’s that come into Uganda don’t transmit the virus.

Truck drivers from mainly Kenya and Tanzania are responsible for all the 18 new cases of Covid-19.

On Tuesday, Uganda’s positive cases stood at 56, but by Wednesday they were 61, with all the five being truck drivers. Two more truck drivers tested positive to the virus bringing the number to 63, before the 11 on Thursday.

“While we are sacrificing to keep the spread of COVID-19 minimal, our efforts are undermined by imported cases. Government has noted these concerns and the National Taskforce is now studying possible remedial actions,” Odongo said.

Uganda started testing truck drivers a week ago, these are the only people exempted to enter Uganda after the closure of all land, water and air borders of Uganda. While addressing the country last week, President Museveni said truck drivers who have been tested of coronavirus should be left to proceed with their journeys and only traced if they have tested positive.

Odongo said, many testing positive has made them rethink what actions they should take. He pointed out the deployment of rapid testing kits so that results are obtained before the driver leaves the border. However, he was quick to add that this might be an impossible option because of the cost implications.

The other option government is considering is to adopt a system of relay driving where a driver from a country like Kenya brings the vehicle to the border like Busia or Malaba. Here, the vehicle is sanitized then handed over to a Ugandan driver who will take it to its final destination if it is in Uganda.

However, if the vehicle is just transiting through Uganda, then the Ugandan driver will similarly handover to the driver of the country to which the cargo is destined.  However for this to work, Odongo added, it must be agreed upon by the East African Community member states.

The Minister added that as they await these discussions, the government of Uganda has designated specific areas where these truck drivers will be resting away from their usual places.

2 comments

  1. Plz, let the govt halt the movt of these trucks for two weeks.such that we see what results will come next.I am with view that all these trucks do not carry essentials gds, if shops are closed what is the essence of moving these goods,only to put the country at more panic.?

  2. We hear of contacts at the station, when the driver is stopped and transferred for quarantine. However he moved all the way from the entry point, stopping over for various reasons:

    question: (a)are we able to track the contacts all the way?
    (b) if these are designated stop overs are the service units practicing enhaced COVID-19 measures (e,g effective hand decontamination, and more frequent environmena disinfection?

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