By Rex Mphisa
VICE-President Kembo Mohadi says Zimbabwe has to avoid cross border infections at all costs as it is poorly equipped to handle infections.
Mohadi, who chairs the Covid-19 national taskforce, made the remarks on Friday during a tour of the Beitbridge isolation centre, which is expected to receive thousands of Zimbabweans returning from South Africa in the coming days.
“Get the people to understand this disease is real and we will all die if we allow people through the porous border line from Shashi to Chikwarakwara,” he warned.
“As a country, we are not equipped to fight the scourge, which has even failed the likes of advanced countries with trillions of dollars in their economies like the United States of America.
“Having realised we had no capacity, we resorted to prevention and that is what we must do or we will all perish,” he said, adding that his observation had nothing to do with politics.
There are reports of a surge in the number of Zimbabweans crossing into South Africa using a number of illegal crossing points along the Limpopo River.
The locals allegedly sneak into the South African border town of Musina where they buy basic commodities that are in short supply in Zimbabwe.
They also smuggle contraband such as cigarettes and alcohol, which is banned in the neighbouring country as one of the ways to control the spread of the coronavirus.
In March, South Africa started constructing a 40km border fence in Beitbridge, to control the spread of the virus through illegal migration.
The fence, however, has since been vandalised with scores of Beitbridge residents allegedly crossing into South Africa to smuggle groceries.
South Africans allegedly also sneak into Zimbabwe to buy alcohol.
Mohadi said more tests would be done countrywide following the delivery of test kits.
Meanwhile, last week the Zimbabwe embassy in South Africa said 2 191 Zimbabwean nationals in the neighbouring country had registered to be repatriated back home.
They will be quarantined in Beitbridge for 21 days before they are allowed to go home.
South Africa imposed a lockdown at the end of March to control the spread of the coronavirus, leaving thousands of Zimbabweans that rely on informal jobs stranded.