Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Almost 700 Zimbabweans have died in South Africa from natural causes during the lockdown and the Government has arranged the repatriation of the remains through Beitbridge.
Zimbabwe’s Consul-General Mrs Melody Chaurira yesterday said her office had processed documents for the repatriation of 693 remains of Zimbabweans from South Africa.
“The repatriation process hasn’t changed and we stand guided by recommendations from our Ministry of Health and Child Care, which is part of the national response measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“Under the current system, all bodies being repatriated to Zimbabwe for burial will be treated as contagious except in cases where the cause of death is a road accident, murder or other body injuries.
All remains now require the clearance of the Ministry of Health and Child Care prior to their transport to Zimbabwe under the usual procedures.
Added Mrs Chaurura: “Relatives accompanying the remains are now being subjected to mandatory quarantine at any port of entry upon arrival in the country before proceeding to the final destinations.
Zimbabwean and South African health authorities came up with stringent measures recently to curtail the spread of the contagious disease.
The move followed consultations between South African based funeral parlours and authorities from the two countries.
The consul-general said it was important for Zimbabweans who seek to travel home to note that they will have to undergo 21 days of mandatory quarantining upon arrival.
“We are happy that our host Government has been granting permits to those who would have requested to travel back to Zimbabwe on varying personal emergencies including bereavement,” said Mrs Chaurura.
It is understood that besides the Ministry of Health and Child Care clearance for repatriating remains of Zimbabweans, a birth certificate or national identification documents of the deceased are needed at the consulate for documentation.