CORONAVIRUS

EAC Secretariat should make Covid-19 passport

In Summary

• 53 truck drivers were refused entry into Kenya from Tanzania because they tested positive.

• The EAC Secretariat and Germany have delivered mobile testing kits to East African member states.

Trucks parked along the Bungoma-Busia highway as their drivers await their coronavirus test results.
Trucks parked along the Bungoma-Busia highway as their drivers await their coronavirus test results.
Image: EMOJONG OSERE

Things are getting ugly at the borders as truck drivers test positive for Covid-19 in large numbers.

Tanzania is angry that 53 truck drivers were denied entry into Kenya this week because they tested positive. In a tit-for-tat move, Tanzania banned all Kenyan trucks from crossing the border.

In Uganda, a mob attacked a Muslim truck driver from Kenya who had left his cab to do his prayers.

 
 

And there are long tailbacks at all borders as truck drivers seek clearance to cross into neighbouring countries.

Last month Germany donated mobile testing labs to East Africa, including two to Kenya, through the Community Secretariat.

A key function of the East African Community is to facilitate free trade in the common market yet member nations are still reluctant to fully embrace free trade. 

The Secretariat needs to sort out this mess by ensuring that long-distance truck drivers get tested before reaching the borders. The Secretariat should create a special Covid-19 passport for travellers to show that they have been tested and found negative in the previous week. A Covid-19 passport would help repair East African integration.

Quote of the day: "He has money. She will wear the mask he needs."

Binyavanga Wainaina
The Kenyan writer died on May 21, 2019