Uganda will start issuing certificates to truck drivers as proof of their Covid-19 free status, which will allow them to travel in the country under a new Journey Management System to be implemented this month.
The system is one of government efforts to contain and manage infections among truckers, both local and foreign, either transiting through the country or those terminating journeys in Uganda.
Uganda is the main corridor for cargo traffic destined for Rwanda, South Sudan and the DR Congo and has in the past months recorded an increasing number of cases of truckers testing positive of the coronavirus at its borders.
The system fronted by the country’s private sector and supported by the Health ministry, will be integrated with the already existing Electronic Cargo Tracking System.
While the Electronic Cargo Tracking System focuses on trade, tax and cargo security, the Journey Management System focuses on drivers’ safety, monitoring and personal conduct within the country.
Authorities have tasked the National Logistics Platform (NLP) under the Private Sector Foundation with implementing the system in Uganda and also ensure that the same is adopted across the region.
Engagement between Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan over the harmonisation of the system are ongoing albeit at a slow pace.
“The proposed system addresses a couple of issues which include but not limited to tracking and tracing of truck crew members, monitoring their welfare and behaviour on and off the road, timely risk communication and also promotes road safety,” said Dr Merian Sebunya, the chairperson of the NLP said.
She said Uganda is ready to implement the system, but is yet to identify designated resting places for drivers on the different routes across the country. Drivers will be allowed to only stop at these gazetted places.
Under this system, drivers who test negative will have their personal and vehicle details captured for surveillance. Routine tests are being fronted after every fortnight for holders of the certificates.
The certificates will also be accepted in countries across the region, Dr Sebunya said.
It is however not clear how the risk of a driver getting infected shortly after the certificate issuance, days before the next test, will be addressed.