EAC agree to uniform prevention measures as COVID-19 cases grow

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Health ministers from the East African Community (EAC) bloc have agreed to uniform measures to prevent imported COVID-19 cases.

This is contained in a statement issued after a virtue meeting convened by the ministers of health and those in charge EAC Affairs on Wednesday.

All partner states are to continue implementing mandatory quarantine for 14 days for all travelers to the region and avoid imported cases by implementing strict screening procedures at all border points, the statement said.

In the region Rwanda has 41 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Uganda has 14, Kenya 31 while Tanzania has 12.

Kenya reported Thursday the first death of a coronavirus patient.

The meeting called on all partner States to implement 100% exit and entry screenings by applying the multilayer mechanism to avoid some loopholes, such as
transit passengers and facilitate free movements of goods and services
in the region.

According to the ministers, suspension of EAC regional face-to-face meetings should be maintained in favour of use of modern technology such as video conferences, webinars and skype calls until such a time when the situation has been contained.

Partner states should ensure that trucks/ vehicles carrying goods have only 2-3 crew members per vehicle to facilitate smooth border crossing in the region, the statement said.

“If crew members are in good health, screened and found to be at high
risk or positive for COVID-19 the truck will be decontaminated before
it is allowed to continue to its final destination and the crew
members will be quarantined for 14 days according to the set national

Under the measures, truck drivers would be required to declare their final destination and to stop only at designated points along the transport corridors so as to limit chances of spread of COVID-19 during transit.

The minister agreed to strengthen information sharing through press conferences and linkage of national task forces to facilitate quick response, continuous reporting and facilitate contact tracing for potential COVID-19 exposed persons.

They also appealed for provision of additional contingency and emergency
funds to address gaps in prevention, impact mitigation and other
interventions to mitigate impact of COVID-19.

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