The Ministry of Health has confirmed one new COVID 19 case from 1,116 samples taken from truck drivers at border points bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 75.
Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng said the “new case is a Ugandan driver who arrived from Kenya via Malaba.”
She added: “All 417 samples in the community tested negative. Total samples tested today are 1,533. Total confirmed COVID-19 cases now 75.”
Due to the increasing number of foreign truck drivers testing positive for COVID 19 in Uganda, the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo on Thursday said Government is considering relay driving to stop foreign truck drivers from entering the country.
Jeje said the truck drivers will have to drive up to the border and then hand the vehicles over to their Ugandan counterparts who will drive the vehicle to it’s final destination.
The Minister also said government was considering rapid testing at the borders of entry.
The testing, he said, will enable truck drivers and crews onboard get their results in 10 minutes unlike 24 hours that results take to be checked at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).
Kenya and Tanzania are slowly turning into epicenters of Coronavirus in East Africa with both countries recording 320 cases and 284 respectively as of Thursday night.
Uganda has registered 46 COVID-19 recoveries so far.
Meanwhile, government took decisions to stem the spread of Coronavirus in Uganda by foreign truck drivers.
Resolutions from the Trade and Transport National Task force sub-committee meeting of 24th April, 2020 below:
The meeting has agreed as follows;
1. Have one driver per truck for all transit trucks. This will operate for the next 4 weeks after which the relay system for drivers will be adopted. However, the ready transporters are encouraged to having relay drivers within different countries.
2. Have designated stop areas with a maximum 3 per route. (Route 1: From Kenya, Namboole, lukaya, Ntungamo/Ishaka, to the border), (route 2: From Kenya, Soroti, Kamdin corner/URA offices, to the border), (Route 3: from Tanzania to kampala, to karuma, Pakwach, to border), (Route 4: to DRC, from Namboole to Mubende, fort portal then to Border), (route 5: to DRC, stop over at Ishaka to the border)
3. All cargo in bound and out bound transit cargo trucks should follow the same journey management plan indicated above.
4. No diversions of cargo trucks off the designated routes.
5. All other previous stop points for cargo trucks (such as tororo, Mbale, Lira, Kamdin corner town, Mbiko, Naluwerere, Lyantonde, Namawojoro, Sanga, Ruti, Migeera, Luweero among others) are all declared illegal with immediate effect.
6. All Agencies including MoH should operate 24 hours at Malaba, Mutukula and Busia
7. Reinforce border patrols and surveillance at all illegal entry points.
8. Freight forwarders commit to pay for testing kits. Modalities for the payment will be worked out between the private sector and the MoH.
9. Consider using Rail and water transport for fuel and other dry cargo. However, URC should be supported for logistical needs including locomotives.
10. Domestic trucks should have a maximum of two people (Only have one driver and the cargo owner/representative of the cargo owner)
11. Government should procure 5000 more e-seals for the regional electronic cargo tracking system for URA.
12. A Truck driver is required to have and use Personal Protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizers.