President Museveni has insisted that truck drivers will not be stopped from entering the country over the risk of spreading coronavirus but noted the East African countries are soon coming up with a ‘medicine’ for the problem.
Despite a number of measures put in place to manage the threat of truck drivers in the fight against coronavirus, Uganda has continued to register Covid-19 cases mainly involving truck drivers from neighbouring countries.
A number of Ugandans have since continued to express concern over government allowing truck drivers enter the country which they say has put lives at risk.
However, speaking during the second National Day of Prayer against COVID19, which he hosted together with the First Lady and Minister for Education and Sports, Maama Janet Kataha Museveni at State House Entebbe, the president said he cannot stop the truck drivers from entering the country but noted plans have been finalized to solve the problem at once.
“Many of you were saying that we should stop them, but if we stopped the trucks, how will the country survive? We are in talks with President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania and we are discussing this,”Museveni said on Saturday.
“We want the drivers to be tested by joint teams of the four countries. We don’t want them to be tested at the borders now, we want them to be tested from their origin.”
The Ugandan government recently started testing at the border all the truck drivers entering the country but are allowed to continue before the results are released.
If the results are positive of Covid-19, the drivers are later tracked using the electronic cargo tracking system under the East African regional electronic cargo tracking system programme.
According to this system, a device called an E-seal is tagged on the container, which acts as an electronic seal that works with the GPS system and thus able to send signals to the central command centre in all East African countries.
However, in some cases, this approach has not been effective since some drivers on some occasions get in contact with other people along the way.
The East African presidents however think that the new approach of testing drivers before taking off for their journeys would bring a sigh of relief.
Speaking on Saturday, President Museveni also noted that because of the ‘Covid19 shake-up’ people must ensure that Ugandans who drive must all be healthy because most of the drivers that had been checked were found with diseases like diabetes, which would also partly explain why there were many accidents on the road.
On the issue of corruption during the crisis, President Museveni noted that he would seek advice from religious people who would avail to him leaders who they deemed godly and incapable of corruption, to help in leading the country during the crisis.
Uganda’s coronavirus cases are now at 116 but 48 of these are truck drivers whereas the recovered cases are at 55.