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Juba, Kampala to jointly regulate truck movements

Author: Kelly Abale | Published: Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A fuel truck waiting clearance at Nimule border town.

South Sudan and Uganda are expected to harmonize plans to regulate movements of truck drivers across their borders during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Uganda announced that out of the 89 confirmed cases, 39 were truck drivers, mainly from Kenya, Tanzania, Congo and Burundi.

Most of these trucks carry goods from Mombasa, Kenya through Uganda to South Sudan, Rwanda and the Republic of Congo.

In his address to the nation, President Yoweri Museveni said the truck drivers continue to pose a major public health concern during the pandemic.

“We only got a problem with interstate cargo transport with the drivers of the Lorries from the neighboring countries,” he said.

The Ministry of Health in Uganda stated that truck drivers who are tested for the virus in Malaba and Busia do not wait to receive their results.

They say drivers also make impromptu stops in undesignated points, against the advice of the health officials.

Some are accused of crossing back into their countries of origin without being traced.

Officials say this denies the coronavirus taskforce the opportunity to trace and isolate their contacts while they were inside the country.

South Sudan closed its borders in April but allowed goods to be imported using cargo trucks.

Trucks from Tanzania and Kenya heading into South Sudan are told to stop in Kampala, at Karuma and Pakwach.

President Museveni stated that he is in talks with President Salva Kiir and other regional leaders to adopt a coordinated approach on the issue.

“I’ve, however, spoken to His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, His Excellency Magufuli, His Excellency Kagame,” he continued.

“I will also speak to His Excellency Salva Kiir and His Excellency Tshisekedi and the matter of the cargo drivers will be streamlined.”

He said cargo truck drivers are now the new front line in the fight against the coronavirus.

South Sudan has so far registered 52 COVID-19 cases.  Three among them truck drivers from the border town of Nimule.

President Museveni advised the local population not to interact with truck drivers. He said that the drivers should also not be allowed in hotels.

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