Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Beitbridge Border Post will get more manpower to intensify screening and surveillance to detect and manage cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) following the recording of more cases in South Africa.
The move is meant to strengthen operational procedures and manage an anticipated increase in travellers after Pretoria closed 35 land ports yesterday as part of drastic measures to combat the pandemic.
The country has also issued a travel ban on those coming from high infectious countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China as from tomorrow.
Prior to the latest development, some travellers would use the closed ports of entries that go through Botswana or Mozambique to access Zimbabwe.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said he will soon be visiting Beitbridge, Sadc’s busiest border, to ensure everything was full proof.
Beitbridge Border Post handles 14 000 people daily (off-peak) and 38 000 daily (in peak times) and by end of day yesterday, the movement of people remained normal.
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi told journalists yesterday that though they had closed 35 land ports, they were not going to shut down Beitbridge because of its high economic activity as a commercial hub for Sadc.
He said they were increasing capacity and resources to those ports which remained operational to avoid any leakages.
According to Dr Moyo, Zimbabwe cannot afford to relax considering that South Africa was the first country they share a land border with, which had recorded a number of positive cases.
“We are going to put more people to Beitbridge to strengthen the capacity in the event we have high volumes of traffic pushed by the closure of other borders which people previously used to access Zimbabwe,” he said.
“In addition, I am going to visit Beitbridge to check on the state of affairs again and boost capacity where need be.
“The travellers should bear with us because the screening process will now be more intense and it might take time for them to enter Zimbabwe through Beitbridge.”
Dr Moyo said the port health section was working 24/7 at Beitbridge and hence it will be prudent to add more resources to boost the interventions.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said though multi-sectorial teams were hard at work at all borders, Government was on the lookout for security issues.
“We have deployed multi-sectorial teams to all ports of entries including Beitbridge and we are looking at allocating more manpower and resources when the need arises,” he said.
“We are working in unison with other line ministries.”