NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19- Tanzania has now banned Kenyan truckers from entering its country through Hororo border with immediate effect.
Tanga Regional Commissioner Martine Shidela said the move is aimed at reducing infections at the border points after accusing Kenyans of spreading coronavirus to Tanzania.
“I direct authorities that as from today they are not allow any truckers coming from Kenya to enter our premises, we cannot allow them to continue shipping the virus into our country,” said Shidela.
He further warned Tanzanian traders against seeking to access the Kenyan market to purchase goods citing that the environment had become hostile for its truckers.
“Tanzanians who have tried crossing the border to Kenya are really facing challenges, do not bother going there anymore to buy items,” Shidela added.
The Tanzanian official added that goods from her country to Kenya will also be offloaded at the border from where they will be picked by their Kenyan owners.
Trucks heading to other countries in the south such as Malawi, Zambia, DRC Congo through Tanzania will, however, be allowed entry.
The directive by the Tanzanian official comes after the Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman announced that 51 Tanzania nationals were denied entry into the country after testing positive for COVID-19 at various border points.
The government has already closed the Kenya-Tanzania border to all passenger traffic in a bid to avert a spike in COVID-19 infections.
President Uhuru Kenyatta declared that only truck drivers who have tested negative for the coronavirus will be allowed entry into Kenya.
However, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said Monday that more laboratories are to be set up at Kenya-Tanzania border points to ramp up testing for COVID-19.
This is after truckers complained of spoilage of goods since they are forced to wait for the test results which come out after three days.
“The problem we currently have is along the Tanzanian border at Isebania, Namanga, and Taita Taveta where we do not yet have functional laboratories that can do the test and turn around the results very quickly,” said Aman.
As of May 18, Kenya had recorded 912 coronavirus cases after twelve people tested positive for the disease.
A total of 1,139 samples were tested in a period of 24 hours with 44,7851 samples having been tested since March.
Twenty-two more patients were also discharged after having recovered, raising the number of recoveries to 335, the death toll standing at fifty.