Zimbabwe to open land borders in December, no buses allowed


HARARE – Zimbabwe says it will re-open its land borders from December 1, but only for private passenger vehicles and pedestrians, further easing a coronavirus lockdown imposed in March.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said they had opted for a gradual re-opening of land borders to assess the health workers’ capacity to screen thousands of people returning home for the Christmas holidays.

Cross-border public transport would remain barred although it would be reviewed constantly, she told reporters following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Only cargo and returning residents were being allowed in since March, but earlier this month the government opened the airports to international visitors as air transport was cleared for take-off.

“Cabinet also resolved that the opening of border posts be phased, beginning with Beitbridge, Plumtree, Victoria Falls, Chirundu, Nyamapanda and Forbes border posts,” Mutsvangwa said.

“These borders will open first to private passenger vehicles and pedestrian traffic as of December 1, 2020, while further assessment is being undertaken with regards to preparations for handling public passenger transport. Border operating hours are being fixed between 6AM and 6PM until further assessment of the situation.”

She said curfew hours across the country were also being extended beyond the current starting time of 8PM to 10PM for the convenience of those who are cleared late at ports of entry.

Mutsvangwa also pleaded with Zimbabweans to avoid complacency as the virus, which was first detected in China last December, appears to make a resurgence in Zimbabwe.

“Cabinet would like to dispel the myth that coronavirus is weak in warm temperatures and warns that there is a risk of a second wave of Covid-19 infection if citizens become complacent,” she said.

Zimbabwe reported 12 new cases from 1,050 PCR tests conducted on Tuesday, bringing the country’s case total to 8,315 including 242 deaths. – ZimLive