Uganda has denied sending back truck drivers who tested positive for the coronavirus to their respective countries.
Yesterday, Uganda’s health minister Jane Aceng said that the country had not repatriated the 14 truck drivers who tested positive, following an online uproar from section of Kenyans and Tanzanians.
In a tweet, Aceng denied any knowledge of sending the drivers back but instead said that they were isolating and treating them at their health facilities.
“So far, we have 23 positive truck drivers. Out of these, one Tanzanian truck driver was officially repatriated. 13 truck drivers, both Kenyan and Tanzanian exited Uganda on their own,” she said.
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About a week ago in her daily address on the status of the coronavirus in Kenya, Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi singled out truck drivers as being among the most vulnerable in contracting the coronavirus.
Last week, five Kenyan drivers tested positive for the virus in Uganda after undergoing testing at the Busia and Malaba borders.
Mwangangi said, “They (truck drivers) are among those on the frontline, hence should wash hands regularly and sanitize.”
As such, East African countries have been forced to put into place stringent measures for truck drivers transporting cargo in and out of their countries.
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Uganda and Rwanda have introduced relay driving regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, even as health officials in Kenya continue with the random testing of long-distance truck drivers.
The arrangement requires a driver to take cargo to a border such as Busia, where the truck is sanitised and handed over to a driver on the Uganda side to move the cargo to its destination or border of transit.
Rwanda and Tanzania have locked out Kenyan truck drivers as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
Uganda has so far reported 79 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 52 recoveries. The country has not reported any coronavirus-related death.
As at yesterday, the Ugandan health ministry said it had tested 2,400 samples, of which 1,866 samples were from truck drivers.
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Several truck drivers who arrived in Uganda through its borders with Kenya and Tanzania have tested positive.