Coronavirus: EAC Heads of State discuss way forward
By Fredrick Obura | May 12th 2020
The East African Heads of State and governments on Tuesday held a video conference to take stock of the region following the effects of coronavirus pandemic.
Resulting from the discussions, the Heads of State underscored the need to support farmers and buy locally manufactured medical products including masks, sanitisers, soaps, coveralls, face shields, processed food, ventilators as part of efforts to combat COVID-19 in the region.
They directed partner states to facilitate farmers to continue farming activities during this pandemic and post COVID-19 period.
They rooted in the establishment of special-purpose financing schemes for small and medium enterprises.
The leaders who included Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), and Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan) acknowledged the challenge posed by cross-border trade in the fight against Coronavirus, especially the emergence of truck drivers as a high-risk carrier population.
The Heads of State, therefore, tasked their respective state agencies responsible for health, transport, and EAC affairs to rollout border screening and testing measures especially for truck drivers that do not compromise cross-border movement of goods.
President Uhuru Kenyatta emphasized the need for collective EAC interventions against the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“A unified stand is what we need to combat this pandemic in the region," Uhuru told his regional peers, adding that contact tracing had helped Kenya to isolate and treat those infected by the virus.
“We continue to actively enforce contact tracing which has proved to be very effective in identifying those who have come into contact with infected persons,” President Kenyatta said.
The Heads of State expressed satisfaction with measures taken so far by regional governments in managing Covid-19 and thanked the EAC Secretariat as well as the Council of Ministers for ensuring the region is able to minimize the cross-border spread of the virus while ensuring the uninterrupted movement of goods.
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The leaders acknowledged the slowdown caused by the global pandemic on the region’s key economic sectors and urged member states to prioritize local production of essential supplies needed to combat Covid-19.
They thanked development partners including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) for their continued support to EAC states in combating the virus.
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