Uganda Commits to Conduct Free Covid-19 Test to Ease Busia-Malaba Trucks Traffic Snarl-Ups

11 Jan 2022
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 11th January, 2022: The Republic of Uganda has committed to conduct free Covid-19 rapid tests at the Kenya-Uganda border points of Busia and Malaba for (seven (7) days to clear the truck traffic snarl-up that has disrupted intra-EAC trade on the Northern Transit Corridor.   This follows a joint multi-sectoral virtual meeting of the Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries responsible for EAC Affairs, Health and Transport convened by the EAC Secretariat.   Currently, over 4,500 trucks have stalled at the two border posts due to the mandatory Covid-19 testing requirement introduced by Uganda on 20th December, 2021.   The meeting noted that this was a deviation from the 14 days Covid-19 testing period, previously agreed at the regional level and monitored through the Regional Electronic Cargo and Drivers Tracking System (RECDTS).   The multi-sectoral Ministerial meeting agreed that Partner States should always notify each other in case of any deviations from the agreed protocols relating to measures against Covid-19.   “This will mitigate the impact on the movement of goods, persons, workers and services across the region,” said Hon. Adan Mohamed, Chair of the EAC Council of Ministers and Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development, Kenya.   To mitigate the future recurrence of the border traffic impasse, the joint multi-sectoral meeting further directed the Partner States to recognize certificates from accredited/national recognized laboratories with a validity of 14 hours for fully vaccinated truck drivers and 72 hours for unvaccinated truck drivers moving goods across the region.   Further, they agreed that Partner States should implement the EACPass to fast-track verification of Covid-19 test results.   “The EACPass is a system that integrates all EAC Partner States’ negative test results for Covid-19 and those vaccinated, and can be easily accessed on the mobile phone. It is set to ease the turnaround time at border points,” said EAC Secretary General Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki.   The 21st Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for Health held on 10th December, 2021 approved the EACPass as a regional platform to facilitate movement of all travelers in the region and beyond and also directed EAC Partner States to facilitate the implementation and use of the EACPass as a platform for quick verification of Covid-19 test certificates and vaccination status for travellers.   CS Mohamed said that a follow-up meeting to review the situation will be held on Friday, 14th January, 2022 to further deliberate on regional Covid-19 measures to ease movement of persons and flow of goods in the region.