COVID-19 TRADE

Issue Covid-19 passports to long-distance truck drivers

In Summary

• Trucks used to take four hours to cross into Uganda but it is now taking two or three days

• A coronavirus test costs around Sh6,000 which is too expensive for most truck drivers

Truck drivers at the border as they wait to be tested for coronavirus on May 12, 2020.
Truck drivers at the border as they wait to be tested for coronavirus on May 12, 2020.
Image: MERCY MUMO

Long queues of trucks have built up at the Uganda border as drivers wait to be tested for coronavirus.

Previously 500 trucks a day could cross into Uganda but now it is only 50 trucks as drivers wait for their test results.

This damages the economies of both Uganda and Kenya and a solution needs to be found quickly.

 

The problem is that seven Kenyan and three Ugandan lorry drivers have tested positive. Drivers coming back from Tanzania have also tested positive.

Clearly truck drivers need to be educated on how to stay safe - to use masks, regularly wash their hands and not touch their faces.

But it becomes a risk in itself if the drivers have to wait two or three days for clearance at Busia or Malaba. 

East African governments should introduce a Covid-19 passport for long-distance truck drivers. The test costs Sh6,000 but governments should foot the bill because efficient economic integration is vital for the East African Community.

There should be a new test for the passport before each journey. This will minimise the risk of a Covid-positive truck driver crossing borders. 

Quote of the day: "Every man's got to figure to get beat sometime."

Joe Louis
The American heavyweight boxer was born on May 13, 1914