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Beitbridge border shut over 5 COVID-19 cases

BY REX MPHISA/KENNETH NYANGANI BEITBRIDGE Border Post temporarily closed for decontamination yesterday after five employees of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) tested positive for COVID-19, amid unconfirmed reports that the cases had risen to 12. Zimra spokesperson Francis Chimanda confirmed the development, but insisted that only five workers had been infected. “You may have heard the border will close between 2pm and 8pm,” he said. In an earlier statement, Chimanda urged Zimra staff countrywide to remain vigilant and outlined measures by his organisation to curb the spread of COVID-19 at its offices, inland ports and borders. “The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is aware that due to the positioning of our offices, inland and border stations, there is a need to remain vigilant in observing and practising procedures that reduce the high risk of exposure to COVID-19,” he said. “In the interest of safeguarding employees, clients and the public as directed by the guidelines from the World Health Organisation, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Zimra is implementing measures to mitigate the likely impact and risks of this viral threat to operations and human life.” “Where practical, Zimra stations and offices maintain critical skeleton staff who are being provided with appropriate personal protective equipment and sanitisers,” Chimanda said. Zimra has of late reduced human to human interactions and services are, as much as possible, being offered to stakeholders via electronic platforms. “Zimra encourages everyone to put their health and safety first at all times while remembering that responsible behaviour at an individual level will help safeguard us all,” he said. Zimra has already lost top official Thabani Sibanda who succumbed to coronavirus resulting in the closure of the Chiredzi offices where he had interacted with staff during a workshop just before he passed on. In a related development, Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba yesterday said 36 civil servants stationed at the government complex in Mutare had also tested positive for COVID-19. “Yes, there were 94 who were tested at government complex, 36 tested positive, and other results are still coming, we have taken measures to disinfect the entire complex,” she said, adding that they employees were self-isolating at home.

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