Covid

Tanzania and Kenya on Friday resolved a dispute over COVID-19 tests for truck drivers crossing the border, facilitating trade between the two East African countries.

The dispute, which had been ongoing for quite some time, was resolved by ministers responsible for transport from the two countries at the end of their one-day meeting at the Namanga border post, said a communique released at the end of the meeting.

The meeting followed a directive on Wednesday by heads of state of Tanzania and Kenya to ministers responsible for transport and commissioners of border regions to resolve the dispute to facilitate trade between the two countries.

According to the communique, the ministers agreed that truck drivers from both sides will be tested for COVID-19 before commencement of their journeys at the point of origin using standards set by the World Health Organization.

The two countries agreed that tested truck drivers should be issued with a 14-day COVID-19 free certificate by competent authorities, which should be mutually recognized by the two countries, said the communique.

The communique said the two countries also agreed that each country should create conducive places where the truck drivers can stop for a rest, adding that such places should be equipped with necessary amenities. They further agreed that the two countries should undertake random COVID-19 screening at the designated resting places, said the communique, adding that the screening should be done in a transparent manner.

According to the communique, the two countries agreed that in case of one of the truck crew being found to be at high risk of COVID-19, the owner of the truck will be allowed to replace all the crew and the truck allowed to proceed. It said the two countries agreed to release to the public data on the status of COVID-19 without mentioning the nationality of the infected.

Tanzania was represented by Minister for Works, Transport and Communication Isack Kamwelwe, while Kenya was represented by Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works James Macharia.

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