Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has embarked on a mass testing exercise at Beitbridge border post after five Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) tested positive for Covid-19.
It is also reported that after the exercise, the border post will be disinfected.
A fortnight ago, South Africa closed its component of the border for two days when a customs officer tested positive for Covid-19.
Only commercial cargo, remains for burial and citizens of Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa on official repatriation are allowed passage.
The Herald is reliably informed that at least 125 border workers had been lined up for testing yesterday, especially those on duty.
Immigration and customs officers were also on the list of those targeted for testing.
The District Medical Officer, Dr Lenos Samhere, could not be reached for comment yesterday but border officials confirmed the development. “The current testing programme at the border will give us a clear picture of where we stand in terms of infections,” said one official.
In a circular to all staff members, Zimra Commissioner-General Ms Faith Mazani confirmed that five of the parastal’s employees at Beitbridge were infected and that routine testing was underway.
“On a sad note, I would want to announce that five of our colleagues at the Beitbriudge border post have tested positive for coronavirus,” she said. “Our local management has swiftly moved in to provide Zimra accommodation to the infected staff members to self-isolate at the border post.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care is now conducting contact tracing and testing.
“Our Beitbridge offices have been disinfected as per our Covid-19 response procedures and the local management is now engaging other stakeholders in order to push for holistic testing and disinfections”.
Ms Mazani continued; “I commend the local management led by Mr (Innoncent) Chikuni for their reaction and our prayers are with the affected staff and their families”.
She said Beitbridge was one of the busiest entry points in Sadc and that it was critical for border stakeholders to remain united in confronting challenges presented by the pandemic.
The Zimra boss said people must continue observing standard World Health Organization (WHO) regulations and protocols in managing Covid-19.
In a related case, the 51-year-old man who died after complaining of chest pains upon his return from South Africa illegally was at the weekend confirmed to be a Covid-19 patient though the actual cause of death is still under probe. The local chairperson of the Covid-19 task-force, Mrs Sikhangazile Mafu-Moyo said they had increased awareness and education programmes in all hot spots areas of the district to minimize the rate of new infections.