COVID-19 CRISIS: Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta discuss army escort for truck drivers

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President Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; File Photo

Cargo trucks entering Ugandan territory will be escorted by the army up to their destination as one of the latest measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in Uganda.

President Museveni has also stated that consultations are going on have all truck drivers undertake mandatory tests for coronavirus at the point of origin contrary to the current procedure of testing at border points.

In an interview with NBS TV on Monday, President Museveni said the latest measures have been endorsed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a bid to minimize the COVID-19 threat following a surge of positive cases of coronavirus on account of cross-border truck drivers.

President, Yoweri Museveni confirmed his support for these new measures saying he doesn’t mind a convoy since it saves time and it is more feasible than the relay driver system as proposed earlier.

“For him (Kenyatta) he is proposing a convoy. I don’t mind a convoy because if a convoy starts everyday at let’s say 7 O-clock, then you know; there are no delays” Museveni stated.

From Naivasha Railway station where cargo is loaded on trucks, Uhuru says the Kenyan security will escort the trucks across the Kenyan territory up to Malaba or Busia border point before they handover to UPDF to escort the trucks up to their final destination in Uganda.

In case the destination of cargo trucks is beyond Uganda’s borders, UPDF will escort the trucks to the next border point and handover to relevant security of that country.

However, Under this proposed arrangement, Cargo drivers will however undergo two mandatory tests in one month to ensure that they do not carry coronavirus.

The tests will be conducted by health teams from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and DRC, and a certificate similar to the Yellow fever vaccination certificate will be issued to the drivers. These health teams as well as immigration officials will be stationed at points of origin meaning that Uganda will send teams to Naivasha, Kenya.

The same procedure will be undertaken by all countries; conduct mandatory tests at a concentration point before drivers embark on their journey according to president Museveni. The two leaders also agreed that testing should be done at least twice a month according to president Museveni.

The two leaders agreed that this arrangement will save time the drivers spend at border points since the only requirement will be presenting the health certificate. Security convoys will also ensure Cargo trucks do not make unnecessary stops and maintain the same route without diversion.

Drivers must stop only at designated points and proceed to the next border point until the truck reaches its destination.

Museveni said he proposed electronic monitoring of truck movements across the region to ensure that truck drivers stop only at designated areas and do not divert from their specific route.

On whether the Ugandan government has plans to evacuate Ugandan citizens trapped abroad, President Museveni said an assessment is ongoing to ascertain the coronavirus threat at home as well as the risks involved. Museveni said the findings will inform the decision.

Museveni Cabinet is set to discuss the issue but there is no way an evacuation can be considered if coronavirus is still a threat in Uganda.

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