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Traffic snarl-ups from truck are common in Busia as seen in this photo taken on May 26, 2020/CFM

Corona Virus

Truck drivers put on notice as COVID-19 cases rise at border points

NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 13 – Truck drivers have been warned against flouting COVID-19 measures, after more cases were recorded at the border points.

Dr Rashid Aman, the Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Health, said acquiring a virus-free certificate is mandatory for all truck drivers crossing the Namanga and Busia borders to Tanzania and Uganda respectively.

Since March, nearly 200 cases have been confirmed on truck drivers, with 16 reported on Saturday.

Lately, traffic snarl-ups have been witnessed at the border points in what is blamed on non-compliance by the drivers.

The drivers are required to acquire COVID-19 certificates 48 hours prior to the commencement of the journeys, but most still drive to the border without them, leading to traffic congestion which take days to clear.

“We appeal again that these procedures should be followed so that the traffic snarl ups cannot be created,” Dr Aman said.

The death toll from COVID-19 hit the 100 mark Saturday in Kenya, even as the country recorded more recoveries from the virus.

Dr Aman said 4 more patients succumbed to the virus on Saturday.

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“Every death is a loss to us and we send our condolences to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives to this virus,” he said Saturday, during a daily news briefing at the Ministry of Health on COVID-19 update.

57 patients were also discharged after recovery from COVID-19, raising the number of people out of hospital to 1,221.

“Observing these measures comes with the cost to all of us. It is not easy. We have to give up many of our freedoms and desires,” he said.

By June 13, COVID-19 cases in the country had risen to 3,457 after 152 new infections were recorded.

Dr Aman said the cases were detected from 3,503 samples tested since Friday.

“You can see these numbers are rising and that is a pointer that we need to take all the measures of protecting ourselves seriously,” he told a news conference.

Dr Aman said all the new cases are Kenyans who contracted the virus within the communities.

Kenya is implementing tough restrictions since March when the first case was confirmed in the country, with a night curfew now starting from 9pm to 4am.

Movement into and out of the capital Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera counties are also restricted until July 6, when President Uhuru Kenyatta will issue new guidelines.

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Other measures in the country include the closure of bars, with restaurants now allowed to operate between 4 am and 5pm.

With Nairobi accounting for 44 per cent of all infections in the country, the caseload has increased by 70 new cases, followed by Mombasa with 41 cases.

According the Ministry of Health statistics, the virus is now confirmed in 38 counties out of 47.

“It is just a matter of time before the disease spreads to all the 47 counties,” Dr Aman warned.

The national government has already disbursed Sh5 billion to be spent by the counties in equipping hospitals, with an initial target of at least 300 isolation beds as the country gears up for the peak of the infections.

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