EAC states agree on temporary free COVID-19 testing of cross-border truck drivers

Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Regional ministers in the East African Community (EAC) member states have agreed to temporarily suspend the cost of testing for COVID-19 among truck drivers on the Uganda-Kenya common border, a top official here said Monday.

Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs Rebecca Kadaga said in a tweet that the move is aimed at clearing a backlog of trucks that had piled on the Kenyan side of the border following a protest by the truck drivers.

“The Council of Ministers of the East African Community has taken a decision to permit cost free testing at the border posts of Busia and Malaba for seven days to clear the backlog of trucks and drivers who have been parked on the Kenya side of the border,” Kadaga said.

The meeting came after Kenyan drivers protested Uganda’s decision to make COVID-19 testing mandatory at every entry point. The testing costs a fee of 30 U.S. dollars, which the drivers claimed was high for them yet Kenya was testing their Ugandan counterparts free of charge.

“It has further been proposed that in future truck drivers will have to show proof of vaccination to facilitate their movement in the region,” Kadaga said.

A report from the Ministry of Health on Monday indicated that as of Jan. 8, the country had registered 154,511 cumulative COVID-19 confirmed cases, including one truck driver who was detected at the Busia border point. Enditem

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