Member states of the East Africa Community(EAC) have been urged to treat truck drivers and crew who test positive for COVID-19 in their host countries instead of deporting them and creating a catalyst for the further spread of the disease.The EAC Secretariat is also calling on its members to enforce mandatory screening or testing of truck drivers and crew at border posts and undertake mobile monitoring during transit at selected inland points.
Member states have been further advised to quarantine those with symptoms for 14 days under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.
To facilitate cross-border trade during the ongoing crisis occasioned by the novel coronavirus, EAC member states have been called upon to, among other things, adopt a multi-sectoral and coordinated approach, provide access at all designated points for entry and exit of goods, and treat the cross-border movement of trucks and cargo as essential services.
Among the items that are supposed to be prioritized as essential goods to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic are food, fuel, medicaments, agricultural products and inputs, security supplies, emergency and humanitarian relief goods.
“To mitigate critical shortages of equipment and supplies, Partner States have been called upon to promote local production of the items required to contain COVID-19, for example, medicaments, sanitizers, protective gear and ventilators,” the Secretariat said in a statement on Monday.
The countries have further been advised to support the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector which employ many East Africans by exploring avenues to enable them remain in business and expand as a foundation for post-COVID-19 recovery process.
On payments and communication services, EAC states have been urged to waive fees on port/border handling charges for essential goods during this period.
The EAC countries are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.