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

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Truckers decry delayed COVID-19 clearance at border posts

NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 24 – The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) has raised concerns over delayed processing of coronavirus results for truck drivers, citing a negative impact on trucking businesses.

Speaking during an interview on Capital FM Wednesday, KTA Chief Operating Officer Mercy Ireri said some of the drivers have had to wait for 9 to 14 days at the borders to get their results.  

“It has even gone for 14 days where we are not getting our results. Mombasa and Nairobi are said to have the capacity of testing up to 200 samples, but they barely test 100. So every day we have a backlog of over 300 drivers who have not gotten tested and they have to get to the port to collect or deliver cargo,” Ireri said.

She said the delay is posing serious threat to the transport industry adding manufacturers and transporters were unable to agree on who bears accommodation costs incurred by drivers as they wait for the results, further compounding the crisis.

“If there is delay, it increases the operations costs, then what this means is that the transporter will also try to reduce the workforce. If you are also not able to evacuate your cargo and we only have four free days, then it means you also pay for storage,” she said.

The government made it mandatory for truck drivers to take COVID-19 tests 48 hours before entering or exiting border points on May 6.

The decision was made in order to reduce cross border transmission of the coronavirus.

 “You have heard before the risk of truck drivers transmitting the virus; let us say from Mombasa to Nairobi going to the west all the way to other countries. We have agreed henceforth that truck drivers will be taking coronavirus test at least 48 hours before leaving Nairobi or Mombasa,” Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said.

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He urged all truck drivers from neighboring countries to ensure they travel with their COVID-19 free certificates to avoid inconvenience.

Long queues have been witnessed at border posts in the recent past causing traffic snarl-ups as truck drivers await to be tested and cleared to travel.

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