Border Jumping a New Threat to African Nations as Zimbabwe Covid-19 Cases Rise

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By Emmanuel Machikwa

Zimbabwe Covid-19 cases have risen by 4 cases. Todate Zimbabwe has 42 confirmed cases, 13 recoveries, 4 deaths and 25 active cases since the onset of the outbreak on 20 March 2020. Cumulatively RD tests done are 14 077 and PCR tests are 11401.

The Ministry reports that 4 cases tested positive for Covid-19 on 15 May 2020, one positive from Mashonaland East province, and one from Zimbabwe Capital city Harare. Both cases are of travellers from neighbouring country South Africa.

The other two are from a quarantine centre in Mashonaland West Province. The centre caters mostly for returnees from countries North of Zimbabwe particularly Zambia, Drc and Tanzania, all with high records of Covid-19 cases.

Zimbabwe has managed to contain its internal infection rate through a series of measures including lockdown, promotion of personal hygiène and wearing masks. Mandatory quarantine of returnees is proving useful as most cases have been detected from these returnees.

However, a new threat is looming and most Zimbabweans are now living in fear as those from infected countries like Mozambique and South Africa are finding their way into Zimbabwe through border jumping.

South Africa tops with some Zimbabweans without passports returning back through border jumping, as well as South Africans frequenting border town of Beitbridge to buy beer. Both groups will therefore avoid quarantine hence exposing Zimbabwe to the risk of Covid-19.

Again the other threat is coming from Mozambique as border jumpers come in with different wares including groceries, fuel and second hand clothes. Zimbabwe is working on banning the importation of second hand clothes as a way to minimise bringing in Corona virus.

With Zimbabwe having opened all formal business in Level two, there are high chances of Covid-19 cases contuining to go up through local transmission, alas in the face of these border jumpers.

Meanwhile, a Chinese company which had won tender to supply testing kits in Zimbabwe had its tender cancelled after it turned out that the kits they supplied were of sub-standard.

Responding to journalists after cancelling the tender Dr Mahomva, the national coodinator for the fight of the Covid-19 pandemic said, “..we are dealing with a serious crisis and we need to be serious about it”.

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