COVID-19: Motorists to be tested at Forbes Border Post
Zimbabwe and Mozambique have closed their borders to all human traffic, with the exception of returning residents and commercial cargo drivers.
Motorists passing through Forbes Border Post will soon be required to test for COVID-19, as part of intensified efforts to avoid the spread of the disease through ports of entry.
Forbes is Southern Africa’s gateway to the seaport of Beira and there have been concerns that continued movement could be exposing Manicaland province. Zimra regional manager Mr Tichaona Phiri yesterday said although Forbes mainly catered for trucks in transit, there were plans to ensure that all drivers be screened and tested.
He said a committee had been formed at the border post to come up with strategies to ensure that all potential loopholes through which the virus could be transmitted by people coming in through the border were plugged.
“The only traffic that is moving right now are returning citizens and commercial traffic, which has drastically reduced because of intensified screening measures that have been taken on both the Mozambican and Zimbabwean side,” said Mr Phiri.
“Right now we are seized with the identification of a quarantine facility where drivers upon arrival will be taken for testing and monitoring for 14 days before they can proceed. But this is in respect to drivers bringing in goods for local consumption. We also have drivers who are in transit who need to be tested before they can be released.”
Forbes normally clears up to 300 trucks per day, but the port is getting around 100 trucks. Mr Phiri said efforts to identify a quarantine facility would be fast-tracked and Zimra was sourcing food and other essential goods needed.
Zimra has in the meantime established a one-bed isolation centre, which is being used for anyone who exhibits symptoms upon screening at the border. Such cases are then transported to Mutare Provincial Hospital for testing and isolation as they await results.
“Drivers in transit are also monitored through GPS, so if by any chance they cannot proceed to the border and have to sleepover, they have to do that at one of the designated truck stops that we have identified in Rusape, Harare and in Karoi,” said Mr Phiri.
Meanwhile, Mutare City Council yesterday embarked on an exercise to sanitize Forbes Border Post to complement national efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Mutare city health services director Dr Anthony Mutara said there was a need to continue monitoring all people who come through the border.
– The Herald
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