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Uganda, South Sudan Covid-19 patient deportations test EAC unity

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DAILYMONITOR 26 APR 2020

Uganda and South Sudan governments’ decisions to deport a Tanzanian and Kenyan nationals who tested positive for Covid-19 has strained relations among EAC member countries, putting at risk cross-border movement of goods in the region.

The repatriations, which are against World Health Organisation guidelines on how to handle pandemics such as the Covid-19 outbreak, have also put to test the East African Community common market and free movement protocols.

Uganda is on record for having decided to repatriate a Tanzanian and Kenyan truck drivers who tested positive for coronavirus, while a South Sudanese taskforce on the Covid-19 pandemic also resolved to have two sick Kenyans evacuated by air.

“A male Kenyan truck driver, aged 27, was found positive among the 372 truck drivers tested yesterday. His sample was also collected at Malaba entry point.

Arrangements are being made to return him to Kenya for treatment close to his family,” read a statement released on April 20 by Uganda’s Director General of Health Services, Dr Henry Mwebesa.

Source of concern

With an average of 1,000 trucks entering the landlocked Uganda every day, long-distance drivers have become a key source of concern for Kampala, as they have proved to be the highest source of imported coronavirus positive cases.

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