7 truck drivers with Covid-19 disappear in city suburb

KAMPALA- The Ministry of Health says it has intensified the search for contacts of the seven truck drivers with Covid-19 who were found in Ndeeba, a city suburb, on Saturday night.

The National Covid-19 Response Incident Commander, Dr Ateka Kagirita, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the truck drivers had escaped into the community after finding out their status. He said they are among the 25 drivers who previously disappeared into the community after they tested positive at Elegu and Malaba border posts.

“The 24-hour operation is ongoing to hunt down all the truck drivers who escaped into the community after testing positive. We are working day and night to get who they got into contact with, establish where they slept to ensure there is no positive case in the community,” he said.

Asked whether there any action will be taken against the drivers for disappearing into the communities, aware that they could spread the disease, Dr Kagirita said he would give the details today.

Yesterday, the Uganda Professional Drivers Network (UPDN), revealed to this newspaper the Saturday night development, which they attributed to their intervention to help government come up with a more comprehensive plan to manage the truck drivers.

Mr Ndugu Omogo, the executive director of UPDN, said the seven are mainly Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania nationals.
“Some of them have been in the community for more than a week. Many of them ran away because there is no existing case management system. Many of them think the disease doesn’t exist and that government just wants to steal money,” he said.

Mr Ndugu explained that the drivers believe the disease is a hoax because they have not been adequately sensitised about it. He added that many of them runaway because they are freelance drivers who do not have contracts with the truck owners and when they are arrested and quarantined for 14 days, they are certain of losing jobs.
“100 per cent of the drivers who have tested positive are freelance. They do not have jobs. The only way they get money is when they return the trucks. Nobody accepts them in the community when they test positive,” he said.