Ugandans using trucks to flout transport ban, hampering efforts to stem COVID-19 spread

Ugandans using trucks to flout transport ban, hampering efforts to stem COVID-19 spread

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) has warned Ugandans to stay away from cross border trucks in order to reduce contact with persons who could be infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

Speaking on Monday 11th, may 2020 at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, the UPDF deputy spokesperson said that in the past few days they have witnessed an increase in the number of people trying to flout the ban on private and public transport by moving on trucks which were exempted from the ban.

In the recent past, truck drivers have come under increased scrutiny as a number of them tested positive for coronavirus disease. A number of these entered the country from Kenya and Tanzania through Malaba and Mutukula border posts respectively.

Akiiki also warned sex workers to equally stay away from the drivers because of the dangers they pose.

“The same thing goes to the ladies who move alongside these truck drivers for reasons known to this country. This has been so common on the eastern border joining the northern border into South Sudan. We shall put in place all measures to see that this is handled for the good of their lives. We call upon people on these roads to continue adhering to these directives so that we fight this disease successfully,” Akiiki said.

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A fortnight ago, President Museveni said he had resisted calls by some people to stop truck drivers from coming into Uganda. He said if he did, the country will not be able to sell its agricultural products like coffee, tea, cotton among others.

In the same, he said a ban will also deprive the country of other essential commodities that come via Kenya or Tanzanian ports as Uganda is landlocked. He equated stopping trucks coming to Uganda to committing suicide.

Meanwhile, Akiiki said that people have continued to breach the guidelines on border closure, risking the lives of those who have been in the country, self-isolating and staying home to forestall the spread of the virus.

Akiiki made reference to three Ugandans who crossed from Tanzania before they were arrested and quarantined at Kabahenda isolation centre in Isingiro district. He warned those who continue violating this guideline that they might end up paying the ultimate price.

“We have tried to cover the known paths that cross into our country but we have observed that people are opening up other entry points which is very risky. We are having armed troops on those borders and they will not hesitate to shoot at anyone at any time of the night because you can’t know the person who is approaching,” Akiiki said.

In other news, the Uganda Prisons Service through its spokesperson, Frank Baine said they are going to release 400 civil prisoners as another way of decongesting the prisons. Baine said that the law allows the Commissioner General of Prisons to release debtors due to pandemics like COVID-19.