Zimbabwe is reopening its land borders after closing them for over a year for ordinary travellers due to a surge in Covid-19 cases.
The country’s ports of entry on borders with Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia were only open for commercial traffic and returning residents since January last year.
Only airports handled non-commercial activities, returning residents as Zimbabwe battled different waves on the pandemic.
Information minister, Monica Mutsvnagwa said that a cabinet meeting had approved the re-opening of land borders for travellers with valid Covid-19 PCR test certificates.
According to her, despite the continued decline in the number of new cases and deaths reported per day, strict enforcement of all Covid-19 regulations coupled with strengthened risk communication on the pandemic will continue since the pandemic is not yet over.
On Tuesday, Zimbabwe recorded 260 new cases from a peak of above 5000 at the height of the fourth wave of the Covid-29 outbreak that was driven by the Omicron variant.
In the past month, there has been a steady decline in the number of new cases and this has led to the gradual reopening of the country’s economy.
Although millions of Zimbabweans live in neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana where they work, they usually return home in large numbers during holidays. There are thousands who cross into South Africa and Botswana using illegal entry points to search for work.
Zimbabwean police said they arrested 89 000 people who were caught trying to use illegal entry points between January 2020 and January this year.
The Southern African country is also used by immigrants from as far as Ethiopia and Somalia as a transit route into South Africa due to its porous borders.