Kenya has set health-check guidelines for drivers and crew of cross-border trucks ferrying goods in the region in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus infections.
The guidelines were issued to ease congestion at the Namanga and Busia crossing points, which had been caused by border closures since Wednesday last week.
Kenya is a key entry point for imports for landlocked neighbours including Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
All truck drivers are to have their temperature taken at designated weighbridges and border points using thermo guns provided by the Ministry of Health.
"Each truck occupant must have their temperature health forms until they exit Kenya unless they are Kenyan residents. Only trucks entering Kenya at border points will be subjected to temperature testing requirements," said Adan Mohamed, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for East African Community, in a statement signed in conjunction with the private sector
"Should any truck occupants show symptoms, they will be quarantined for 14 days under the supervision of the Ministry of Health."
EAC partner states also announced strict border restrictions, further causing delays and backlogs at border points.
A multi-agency protocol comprising the Ministry of East African Community, Ministry of Health, Kenya Revenue Authority, the National Police Service and Immigration, met last week to set the new guidelines.
The team designated the KRA commissioner of Customs, Kelvin Lewis Safari, as the overall team leader at border points. His task will be to ensure 24-hour operation at the border points.
Police presence will be required at various weighbridges to oversee checking.
The team called on Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Interior Fred Matiang'i,to designate immigration officials as exempt from provisions of the dusk-to-dawn curfew to enable them work 24 hours along with Customs and port health officials.
The police were directed to allow and facilitate truck drivers to operate 24-hours.
Trucks and cargo transport have been listed as essential services in the curfew notice, and therefore permitted to be cleared to travel at night.
In order to allow smooth and faster clearance of trucks, the team also recommended hiring of more staff at the border points.