Arusha, Tanzania – The 18th Extraordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State which had been purposely convened to discuss the ongoing novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been postponed to a later date.
In a letter dated 14th April, 2020 to the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Vincent Biruta, said that the Extraordinary Summit had been postponed due to a request by the Republic of South Sudan.
The 18th Extraordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State on #COVID19 has been postponed due to the request by the Republic of South Sudan. A new date will be communicated in due course.
— EAC Sec General (@LMfumukeko) April 15, 2020
The 18th Extraordinary Summit, which was to be held via Video Conferencing, had been called by the Rwandan President and Chairperson of the Summit, H.E. Paul Kagame, specifically to exchange on the regional response against COVID-19, including its fiscal, economic and social consequences on the Community.
As at 15th April, 2020, all Partner States had confirmed cases of coronavirus with Kenya reporting 216 cases with 9 deaths; Rwanda 134; Uganda 55; Tanzania 53 with 3 deaths; Burundi 5 and one death and South Sudan 4 cases. Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda have not reported any deaths so far.
During a Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Ministers Responsible for Health and Ministers Responsible for EAC Affairs on the COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Response held on 25th March, 2020, it was resolved, among other things, that all Partner States 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 Ministers further resolved to maintain suspension of EAC regional face-to-face meetings and urged EAC Organs and Institutions to utilize Modern Technology such as video-conferences, Webinars and Skype Calls for holding such meetings until such a time when the situation has been contained.
According to the EAC secretariat statement, all Partner States were directed to implement 100% exit and entry screenings by applying the multilayer mechanism to avoid some loopholes, such as transit Passengers.
They also resolved to minimize cross border movement of people while facilitating free movements of Goods and Services in the EAC region. This was to ensure that trade continues unhindered throughout the region.
Africa Tembelea has learnt that a new date for the Extraordinary Summit will be communicated in due course.