Hundreds of Zimbabweans living in neighbouring countries are sneaking back into the country without undergoing quarantine and getting tested for COVID-19, it has been established.
Travellers visiting Zimbabwe are required to quarantine for 10 days and also produce a negative COVID-19 certificate but reports suggest that returnees are bribing law enforcers to avoid going into quarantine.
A returnee from South Africa who is visiting his family in Masvingo told NewZimbabwe.com that bus crews and government officials work in cahoots at the Beitbridge Border Post to facilitate evasion of quarantine by those willing to pay bribes. Said the returnee:
The bus crews are making the transactions between the returnees and government officials.
You give the bus crew Rand 200, and leave everything to them because they know the channel for passengers to evade quarantine.
COVID-19 national task force chief coordinator Agnes Mahomva said the measures were put in place to decongest ports of entry and enable enforcement agencies to strengthen their enforcement. Said Mahomva:
In terms of those who are coming through our borders, it is very clear that there is need to tighten up and that is why you saw the government issuing out Statutory Instrument 267.
Those are the measures that have been put in place to say let’s really tighten up and discourage unnecessary travel that will help decongest our ports of entry and hence also enables our enforcement agencies to be able to strengthen their enforcement because there will be no congestion at those places.
We don’t wait for the festive season, or for numbers to go up, this is a continuous process.
Zimbabwe is currently in the fourth wave of coronavirus infections with the test positivity rate remaining above 30 per cent over the past several days.
In 2020, the Government reopened borders during the festive season resulting in an influx of returnees from Botswana and South Africa.
Coronavirus infections and COVID-19-related deaths soared and the Government responded by putting the country into a hard lockdown for three months.