Victor Maphosa Herald Reporter
Cross border traders have received a huge relief following an agreement between the Cross Border Traders Association and Kei Laboratories for them to access Covid-19 tests at a concessionary rate.
While other local laboratories charge up to US$60 for such a test, Kei Laboratories will charge US$15 for cross border traders, making it much easier for them to afford the service.
Cross border traders have been stranded since the major borders opened last week, as they could not afford the Covid-19 tests that will enable them to show border officials a positive result before they are allowed out.
The Cross Border Traders Association is working with more than 200 medical doctors across the country who will collect samples from the members and send them to Kei Laboratories in Bulawayo for testing.
Certificates will be issued before one embarks on the journey outside the country and upon return, they will be tested, and this time they will only pay US$10 since they will not get a certificate, but only their results.
Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, Cross Border Traders Association president Mr Killer Zivhu said the initiative came as a relief to cross border traders who had been struggling to raise funds for Covid-19 tests.
“The biggest challenge is that the PCR test is beyond the reach of an ordinary person, let alone a cross border trader,” he said. “To make matters worse, our people have been idle for the past nine months, they have not been operating, and most of them are bankrupt.
“Now, we have entered into an agreement with Kei Laboratories that they test every Cross Border Traders Association member at US$15 or R170 on going out of Zimbabwe, and US$10 on coming back. This comes as boost to our members.”
Mr Zivhu said the association was discouraging the setting up of laboratories at border posts, as people should only travel to the border when they know their status.
“The reason we discourage this is because one can travel from as far as Murehwa to Beitbridge not knowing that they are Covid-19 positive,” he said. “They will be spreading the virus all the way to the border.
“So we encourage that people must be tested at their places and only travel after knowing their status, and they can actually collect the certificates at the border, but having been informed of their status before travelling.”