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Covid 19: Gov’t Considers Stopping Truck Drivers At The Border

In a bid to contain further spread of COVID 19 in Uganda, Government is considering taking measures which include making truck drivers who enter Uganda stop at the border and hand their vehicles over to their counterparts in Uganda to drive to the final destination.

This comes after Uganda successfully contained the spread of COVID 19 but continued registering Coronavirus confirmed cases from truck drivers who enter the country.

In the past few days, Kenyan and Tanzanian truck drivers inflated the number of confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Uganda to now 63 from 55 where Uganda had flattened the curve.

Today Thursday, the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo told reporters at Uganda Media Center that Uganda is considering relay driving to contain spread of COVID 19 in Uganda.

“There is now discussion of what we call relay driving. It means if a vehicle is coming from Mombasa for example, that driver will drive up to the border, Malaba or Busia. He will stop there. We sanitize the vehicle and it is handed over to his counterpart here in Uganda. His counterpart will drive to the final destination if it is in Uganda or to the border of exit to the country of final destination. He will also leave it there and another driver takes over,” said Jeje.

The minister said they are looking at this possibility and will be discussed with all the stakeholders and if it’s applicable, it will be employed.

Jeje also said that he last evening had a consultation with Works and Transport Minister Gen Katumba Wamala and the Task Force and are considering deploying rapid testing kits at the entry points so that the driver knows the status before he leaves the border. The testing kits he said gives results in 10 minutes.

“Using rapid testing kits enables us know the status even before the driver has left.”

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This however he said is likely not to work because the exercise is very expensive.

Each test is 65 dollars. On average, 1000 vehicles enter Uganda within 24 hours and if the original instruction by the President that each vehicle should have a maximum of 3 people, that makes the number of drivers and crews 3000. Therefore 3000 multiplied by $65 is $195,000 which is the expenditure on a daily basis.

“This might be prohibitive,” said Jeje.

Yesterday Wednesday, the Ministry of Health confirmed 2 new COVID 19 cases and both were Tanzanian truck drivers.

This inflated the total number of COVID 19 confirmed cases in Uganda to 63.

Fortunately, however, 45 people have recovered and no COVID 19 related fatality has been recorded in Uganda.

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