The Ministry of Health on Thursday confirmed 11 new COVID 19 cases from 1,020 samples taken from truck drivers at border points bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 74.
All Uganda’s latest 19 of the 20 cases have been registered from truck drivers coming from either Kenya or Tanzania.
According to the statement issued on Thursday by the Director General Health Services, Of the 11 confirmed cases, 6 are Tanzanian truck drivers who arrived from Tanzania via Mutukula border post while 5 were from Kenya (3 entered from Malaba while 2 entered from Busia border post).
“None of the cases registered today (Thursday) had signs and symptoms consistent to COVID 19,” said Dr Mwebesa in a statement.
All the 311 samples taken from the community and quarantine centers have tested negative for COVID 19. A total of 1331 samples were tested for COVID 19 at Uganda Virus Research Institute.
On average, 1000 trucks enter Uganda on a daily basis.
Kenya and Tanzania are slowly turning into epicenters of Coronavirus in East Africa with both countries recording 320 cases and 284 respectively as of Thursday night.
Speaking at the Uganda Media Centre, Gen Jeje Odongo, Internal Affairs minister, said the government is considering a number of options to ensure those truck drivers who come into Uganda don’t transmit the virus into the community.
“While we are sacrificing to keep the spread of COVID-19 minimal, our efforts are undermined by imported cases. Government has noted these concerns and the national task force is now studying possible remedial actions,” Odongo said.
The other option government is considering, Odongo said, is to adopt a system of relay driving where a driver from a neighbouring country like Kenya brings the vehicle up to the border like Busia or Malaba. Here, the vehicle is sanitized then handed over to a Ugandan driver who will take it to its final destination if it is in Uganda.
However, if the vehicle is just transiting through Uganda, then the Ugandan driver will similarly handover to the driver of the country to which the cargo is destined. However for this to work, Odongo added, it must be agreed upon by the East African Community member states.