Zimbabwe to gradually reopen land borders from December 1

A medical personnel is seen at Wilkins Hospital in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, on April 30, 2020. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)
FILE PHOTO: A medical personnel is seen at Wilkins Hospital in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)

The Zimbabwean government announced the country’s land borders will re-open at the beginning of December following months of closure as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Zimbabwe shares borders with South Africa, the continent’s worst-affected country by the pandemic; Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.

Minister of Information Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters in the capital Harare that the order follows a reduction in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

“The borders will open first to passenger vehicles and pedestrian traffic as from 1st December 2020, while further assessments are being undertaken with regard to handling passenger transport,” Mutsvangwa said.

Mutsvangwa added that the border points of entry will be allowed to operate indefinitely between 6am and 6pm.

She further announced an extension of the curfew hours from 8 pm to 10 pm to cater to travelers who are cleared late at borders.

Zimbabwe has reported a consistent reduction in the number of coronavirus cases for the last 60 days. The average numbers of daily confirmed cases are less than 30.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.), however, earlier this month, urged African countries to exercise caution regarding the pandemic despite registering a downward trend in its curve during the past 90 days.

This is the latest move by the government in its phased reopening of the already-struggling economy which has been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic.

Last month, domestic flights resumed while international flights were allowed again at the beginning of this month. Cross-border public transport, however, is still prohibited.

Tourism facilities have also been reopened and intercity traveling has also been allowed.

Zimbabwe has reported a total of 8,303 confirmed cases and 242 deaths, as of October 28, according to the W.H.O.

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