Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent
BUS operators have started having their employees tested for Covid-19 as they prepare for the return of intercity travel.
Government has set the testing of all employees in the sector before the resumption of operations as part of measures to contain the spread of infections.
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development came up with a list of standard operating procedures, which include the upgrading of terminuses, controlled access and washing facilities to ensure there is strict adherence to World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 guidelines.
Bus crews, including drivers, conductors and loaders, will not be allowed into long-distance bus terminus before they produce a certificate showing they tested negative for Covid-19. Acting upon the regulations, Inter Africa bus services yesterday conducted Covid-19 testing at its Harare depot, where 350 employees were tested. There were more than 300 people who were outside the company’s premises, looking for jobs.
Inter Africa chief executive Mr Leonard Mukumba said they were making sure they abide by the conditions set by Government.
“I am happy that Government insisted on the testing of our employees before going back on the road,” he said.
“We have tested all our employees, about 350 from the front office, workshops and bus crews. We are encouraging all bus operators to have their employees tested so that we stop the spread of Covid-19 and to make sure that everyone is safe on the road.”
Mr Mukumba said they would make sure that all their buses had the provisions recommended by Government.
“We also thank the Government for reintroducing intercity travel,” he said.
“So, each bus will have sanitisers and each passenger will be sanitised before getting on to the bus.
“We are making sure that all our employees will have personal protective equipment and we have instructed them to observe the health guidelines prescribed by the Government.”
The Government banned intercity travel to stem intercity transmissions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Zimbabwe Passenger and Transporters Association (ZPTA), an association of 45 bus operators, is erecting a palisade fence around Mbare’s long-distance bus terminus and has also drilled two boreholes as part of measures to ensure that the terminus is safe for passengers and bus crews.