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East African Leaders to Discuss Joint Response to Coronavirus

East African leaders are expected to meet this Wednesday via video conference to discuss the region’s preparedness and response to Coronavirus.

The novel virus has since grounded business in the region with many countries maintaining lockdowns and tight restrictions on movement of persons.

Today’s meeting, according to the East African Community (EAC), will allow the Partner States to “coordinate their implementation of the measures adopted by the joint Meeting of Ministers responsible for Health and Ministers responsible for East African Community Affairs on the COVID-19.”

Respective EAC Partner States, Embassies and High Commissions are expected to coordinate support to their citizens affected by the closure of borders and facilitate their movement to their respective Partner States while adhering to relevant health guidelines.

East African countries have closed their borders but allowed cargo trucks to traverse the region unhindered.

However, President Museveni on Tuesday evening warned about “additional danger points” of spreading Coronavirus such as the land borders with the East and Central African countries; the cargo truck drivers and crews of trains; the air-craft crew members for cargo planes; the UN and the health workers treating the corona-virus people.

“On the issue of the truck crews the driver and two others they will be tested at the border but they do not have to wait for the test results,” said Museveni.

“They can continue with their journey and the outcome of the test will be communicated to them later and further management will follow as is necessary. Within the country, the truck drivers, whether transiting or destined to Uganda, will only stop at designated points in the country and nowhere else.  The crews of the cargo planes that fly into the country will be accommodated in designated hotels.”

Uganda on Tuesday confirmed a new Coronavirus case of a Ugandan truck driver arriving from Kenya.

A Kenyan truck driver also tested positive in Uganda.

Ugandan authorities vowed to return the case back home.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear how the region will contain the spread of the virus considering that Tanzania and Kenya have refused to enforce a countrywide lockdown just like Uganda and Rwanda.

Kenya’s Coronavirus cases have shot to 217 while Tanzania’s are at 49.

South Sudan has four cases while Uganda last night confirmed the 54th case. Burundi has only five registered infections.

In Tanzania, the President John Pombe Magufuli has downplayed the impact of the virus, comparing it to “Satan” and that it would naturally be defeated with prayer, since “Satan cannot reside in the body of Christ.”

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