Tanzania, Kenya agree on COVID-19 testing for truck drivers

Friday May 22 2020

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania and Kenya have today May 22 agreed to make public data on the COVID-19 status of truck drivers without mentioning nationality of those who test positive, it has been confirmed.
A joint statement signed by Transport Ministers Issack Kamwele (Tanzania) and James Macharia (Kenya) said the data will be submitted to the competent authority through diplomatic channels for necessary measures.
“Truck crew to be tested before the commencement of their journeys at point of origin using WHO standards and be issued with a 14-day COVID-free certificate by the competent authority which shall be mutually recognised,” reads  a statement signed by the two ministers.
Each vehicle will only be allowed to carry up to three crew members: each partner State will Gazette conducive places for the truckers to stop and rest.
Partner States will also undertake random screening at the designated resting points.
“This should be treated in a transparent manner. In case one of the vehicle crew is found to be at high risk of COVID-19 the owner of the vehicle shall be allowed to replace all crew and the vehicle allowed to proceed,” the statement adds.
Both countries have also agreed to commit to revive and operationalise the Ujirani Mwema cross border meetings.
Citizens who undertake agricultural activities on either side of the border will be allowed access to their farms subject to being identified by the local leaders.
For weeks, trucks were stalled at border crossings — with trucks sometimes stretching back hundreds deep at some points.
Truck drivers began to be seen as high-risk COVID-19 carriers after some cases were traced to them.
Kenya’s ambassador to Tanzania, Dan Kazungu, attempted to ease the situation on Tuesday, saying at a news conference that leaders of the East African Community (EAC) were working together to address the region’s trucking industry problems.

Mr Kazungu's action drew high praise from President Magufuli who immediately decided to replace Tanzanian envoy to Kenya Dr Pindi Chana.