What you need to know:
- So far, Kenya has turned back 25 truck drivers who tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours at the Namanga border point, the Health ministry said in Nairobi yesterday (Wednesday). The foreigners included 23 Tanzanians, a Ugandan and a Rwandan, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said.
Arusha/Tunduma. There was some relief yesterday regarding the recent border closures yesterday, with Kenya allowing Tanzanian truck drivers to cross the Namanga entry point after producing Covid-19 test results.
Londigo District Commissioner Frank Mwaisumbe said yesterday some of the 300 trucks that were denied entry into Kenya until their drivers had undergone Covid-19 tests, had been allowed to proceed.
“We have reached an agreement. One can now test in Tanzania and then produce the results certificate at the border to be allowed by the Kenyan authorities to proceed with the journey,” he said.However, those who tested positive were denied entry into Kenya.
So far, Kenya has turned back 25 truck drivers who tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours at the Namanga border point, the Health ministry said in Nairobi yesterday (Wednesday). The foreigners included 23 Tanzanians, a Ugandan and a Rwandan, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said.
At the Tunduma-Nakonde border between Tanzania and Zambia, a decision by Zambia to close the entry point has seen both countries feeling the pinch, prompting the latter to consider reviewing its own decision.Zambia imports some of its essential products via Tanzania’s ports.
As a result, the Zambian government directed customs clearing agents earlier yesterday to clear oil tankers so they can enter Zambia, according to the chairman of clearing agents association at the border, Mr Waziri Msangi.
“We were asked to clear all oil tankers and avert creating a petroleum crisis in Zambia but as clearing agents, we refused. We want the Government of Zambia to allow all vehicles at the border to be cleared,” he said.
This, he said, was because 85 percent of vehicles that were stranded at the border were destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“So we thought the decision to allow only oil tankers was not in good faith rather, it was simply meant to help one country in its petroleum requirements,” he said.
It’s estimated that by yesterday evening, 1,500 trucks would’ve been stranded at the Tunduma-Nakonde border.“We have asked TRA [Tanzania Revenue Authority] to ensure that they do not allow the processing of oil tankers only at the expense of others,” he said.
The temporal border closure is also delaying Zambia’s main copper exports via Dar es Salaam, reports say.
With strict coronavirus lockdown in South Africa, Dar es Salaam becomes the only economically viable option for Lorries and other vehicles on the Tanzanian side of the country’s border with Zambia.
Zambia’s Muchinga province Minister Malozo Sichone told Reuters by phone from Nakonde on Tuesday that the country had a good number of trucks that needed to be cleared to go out of the central African nation.
Sichone said priority would be given to trucks entering Zambia with essential goods such as fuel, medical supplies and food. He could not say for how long the border would remain closed. “What will inform us is the extent to which we disinfect the town and test people,” Sichone told Reuters.
Zambia temporarily closed the border with Tanzania effective Monday, May 11 after the Nakonde district recorded its highest single day increase of 76 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, May 9. At the Namanga border with Kenya, Mr Mwaisumbe said the government would make the Covid-19 testing exercise easier by transferring test kits closer to the border.
This was in apparent response to drivers’ com-plaints that the exercise was taking too long and that staying at the border for a long time was unhealthy to them.
Frank Mkane, who drives vehicles belonging to the Dar es Salaam-based Jambo Flight, said spending more time at the border was bad for their health, noting that guest houses at border points need not be trusted.