Kenya announces mass testing for COVID-19 for truck drivers

Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health Rashid Aman. COURTESY: TWITTER/Ministry of Health, Kenya

The Kenyan government will begin targeted mass testing of truck drivers after some Kenyan drivers tested positive for the virus.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman made the announcement on Sunday during a press conference at the Ministry of Health headquarters in the capital Nairobi.

Aman said that the National Emergency Response Committee had directed testing of truck drivers to start immediately at all border crossing points.

Cross-border spreading of the coronavirus has emerged as a concern in the East African region.

Last Friday, Uganda recorded 11 positive tests out of who five were Kenyan truck drivers who arrived via the Malaba and Busia border points.

On Sunday, Uganda confirmed that four Tanzanian truck drivers who arrived via Mutukula tested positive for the virus. Prior to that, Uganda confirmed 11 cases of which six were Tanzanians while five were Kenyans.

Ugandan Minister of Internal Affairs General Jeje Odongo said the country was considering having trucks from outside Uganda being sanitized at the border point and then handed over to a Ugandan driver who would take the vehicle to the final destination if in Uganda or the next border point.

President Yoweri Museveni also pointed out that his government was shifting its focus on the dangers posed by porous land borders.

“We want to test these drivers before they come here. They should only be allowed to move when the results are released,” President Museveni said.

Uganda shifted its initial position and now adds positive tests from neighbouring countries in its tally and treats such cases locally in accordance with World Health Organisation guidelines.