The Minister for Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has commissioned the first port health laboratory at the Uganda –Tanzania border of Mutukula.
Speaking during the launch on Friday, Aceng said the machine can run up to thirty samples per hour. Two machines have been put in place at the laboratory which is located at the Uganda Revenue Authority Customs building.
Even as tests will be done at the points of entry, Aceng said negative truck drivers that will be let in might have to undergo more tests in the country.
With this machine, they say the truck drivers that test positive will be detected when they are still in immigration and be linked to care or returned to their country without exposing the community.
However, 36 tests were conducted when unveiling the machines which will also be installed at other border points including at Malaba and Elegu. Of the 36 tests, two tested positive.
The launch of the lab comes at the time when countries in the East African Region are discussing ways of halting transmission of COVID-19 among truck drivers whereby among others they plan to come up with an online tracker that monitors drivers’ movements.
Aceng said they hope to in ten days to sign an agreement between the countries on what exact procedures they will be following.
Last evening, 21 new truck drivers tested positive for the disease bringing the total number of truck drivers to test positive to 100. Seven of the latest positives were picked from Mutukula.
In total Uganda has recorded 160 cases of COVID -19 so far.