The Kenya government will start mass testingof long distance truck drivers who are among the high risk groups for COVID-19.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Health Rashid Aman made the revelation on Tuesday during a meeting with National and County government officials at Malaba One-Stop-Border-Post (OSBP).
Aman told the meeting that the mass testing will be pivotal in combating the spread of Coronavirus in high risk border counties.
He said, “Uganda is already undertaking mass testing of truck drivers which is appropriate. There is need for Kenya to also expand its testing to include truck drivers and other high risk groups like frontline workers and all health workers.”
Aman who was accompanied by Chief Administrative Secretaries Hussein Dhado (Interior) and Chris Obure (Transport and Infrastructure) said KEMRI Alupe, KEMRI Kisumu and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital will be made testing centres in the region to expand the testing capacity.
To ease the truck pile up that has hit Malaba and Busia, the health CAS told the meeting that the Government will negotiate with Uganda to have Kenya take samples of truck drivers up to 30 kilometers inside Uganda with Uganda doing the same inside Kenya in order for the tests to be readily available before they cross.
Obure said the Malaba truck jam that currently stands at 30 kilometers is not acceptable owing to the dangers posed to the communities living along the Bungoma-Malaba Highway and economic implications to truck owners in terms of lost revenue.
“Covid-19 should not be a reason to defeat the objective of the East African Community. We must find an urgent solution to the pandemic,” he stated.
Dhado on his part urged Kenyans of all walk to observe the measures the government has put in place to stem the spread of the Coronavirus.
“The measures are not meant to punish anybody but rather to protect all of us against contracting the virus,” he said.
Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi urged the National Government to speed up infrastructural development in Busia and Malaba towns especially making the Busia-Korinda highway dual carriage and construction of trailer parks in Busia and Malaba which will curtail the perpetual truck jams in the two border towns.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait