Traffic jam at Malaba border as Covid-19 testing for truck drivers begins

Trucks stuck in traffic on the Malaba -- Eldoret Highway. PHOTO/COURTESY

Truck drivers plying the Kenya–Uganda route are now facing a nightmare having to endure a long wait as the government embarks on mass testing for Covid -19 on all cargo operators crossing the border.

At the Malaba border, traffic on Monday stretched to Mayanja market in Bungoma, a distance of over 35 kilometres.

Drivers said they had spent more than three days to cross the border, noting that the testing for the coronavirus is taking hours.

They urged the government to increase the health workers conducting the testing to expedite the exercise.

It is also emerging that the drivers are interacting with local residents as they wait in the traffic jam to undergo the testing, raising fear among the locals that the virus could spread in the area.

“This traffic jam has been witnessed for the last one week. We are urging the government to find a solution since these drivers are alighting from the trucks and moving around this area and others have no masks,” said one of the residents.

Another local resident added: “Some of the drivers are even sharing cigarettes with the locals.”

The decision to test transit cargo drivers was arrived at after five Kenyan drivers were confirmed positive in Uganda. Three of the drivers are reported to have entered Uganda through Malaba and two through the Busia border point.

Following the imported cases of the coronavirus, Uganda announced it would have trucks entering the country picked and driven by Ugandan drivers to their destination or to the next border point.