NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – The Kenya-Uganda one-stop border point in Busia has been closed to passenger traffic as authorities in both countries work to stop the spread of coronavirus, a global pandemic that has seen about two dozen people infected in East Africa.
Uganda has confirmed a single case with Kenya reporting seven so far. Rwanda has confirmed seventeen.
The Busia border point will however remain open to cargo traffic to facilitate uninterrupted supply of essential commodities.
The Ugandan government has already issued a raft of measures to avert the spread of the virus, President Museveni announcing that no person, Ugandan or otherwise will be allowed into the country.
“Pending the evolving of an EAC Health Response Plan to the Pandemic by the East Africa Ministers of Health, no person, Ugandan or otherwise, will be allowed to enter Uganda by land or water except for drivers and accompanying crews, not exceeding 3 persons, for cargo transport vehicles trailers, lorries and other cargo vehicles. No buses, mini-buses, salon cars or boda-bodas will be allowed in the country,” Museveni said.
Cargo transport accompanying crews from outside Uganda have been limited to three.
“Also, pedestrians, walking on foot, or bicycle rider will not be allowed to enter Uganda or to enter Uganda by road, path or water; nor will they be allowed to exit by those means,” Museveni noted.
Museveni called on young people to be very careful reminding them that the virus is not only targeting old people as it has been made to look like.
Lockdowns have begun in African countries as coronavirus cases rose above 1,000, while Nigeria on Saturday announced it was closing airports to all incoming international flights for a month.
Rwanda said all unnecessary movements were banned for two weeks as of Sunday midnight except for essential services such as health care and shopping.
Tunisia imposed a lockdown as well.
Uganda, Eritrea and Angola are the latest to announce their first cases, meaning 42 of Africa’s 54 countries are now affected.