EAC States to roll out digital Covid-19 certificates for truck drivers


Truck drivers and their assistants wait for Covid-19 tests at Namanga border post on May 12. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

East Africa member states are set to roll out digital Covid-19-free certificates to eliminate the possibility of truck drivers using fake documents to travel within the region.

This comes as Kenya crosses the 3,000 mark after recording 105 new Covid-19 cases bringing the total number of persons infected to 3,094. Some 175 persons, the highest number of recoveries so far, were also discharged from hospitals.

The Ministry of Health said that the roll-out of the electronic certificate will be implemented in a week’s time once the member states put in place technology that will link all the laboratories and ensure a seamless operation.

The move follow claims that truck drivers are using fake certificates to cross to neighbouring countries and into Kenya. It is also designed to ensure that truck drivers follow laid down protocols that include taking Covid-19 tests at the point of departure, 48 hours before the commencement of the journey.

“At the moment we are working on a small issue with the linkages of the laboratories, because you want your results to be visible by each partner state so that it can be a true attestation that test is valid,” said Acting Director of Public Health Dr Francis Kuria.

The move is hoped will eliminate traffic snarl-ups currently being experienced along border points. At the Uganda-Kenya border in Busia, traffic snarl-up has lasted over three weeks owing to drivers not adhering to laid down Covid-19 protocols. Drivers are expected to have a valid Covid-19-free certificate during transit. The certificate is to be renewed every 14 days.

The precautionary measures laid down by the Health ministry are meant to stop the spread of Covid-19 along transport corridors. Busia County has over the past few weeks emerged as the third Covid-19 hotspot after Nairobi and Mombasa. On Wednesday, it reported 18 cases. Most of them are of truck drivers. Nairobi accounted for 43 cases, Mombasa 11, Turkana seven and Migori six.

Kiambu had five cases, Kilifi Taita Taveta and Machakos three each and Kisumu two. A case each was also reported in Uasin Gishu, Siaya, Garissa and Kajiado counties. About 2,273 samples were tested.