Illegal entry points along the Zimbabwe-Botswana Boundary line in Bulilima may result in the unchecked community spread of Covid-19. Villagers who are engaged in menial jobs as maids and herd boys in villages in the neighbouring country are reportedly trickling back through these points.
Villagers in Bulilima Ward 10 have raised fears over possible risk of community spread of Covid-19 as the border jumpers skip screening measures.
“We are seeing a possible risk of infection because these border jumpers are not tested or quarantined,” said a villager who requested confidentiality.
The Zimbabwean Government and their Botswana counterparts have since come up with bilateral arrangements to repatriate distressed nationals who include returnees and illegal immigrants. The National Covid-19 regulatory framework provides for rigorous screening, isolation, testing and quarantine measures for repatriated citizens.
So far, hundreds of Zimbabweans have been repatriated from Botswana since the beginning of the lockdown. Two quarantine centres have been set up at Plumtree High School and Allan Redfern Primary School in Plumtree town.
The geographical distance between centres of repatriation and the residence of border jumpers in the neighbouring country may also be a contributing factor to an illegal crossing.
Cases of smuggling of goods along the Zimbabwe-South Africa border fence have also been on the increase during the lockdown period. Porous entry points have been cited as a cause of concern in combating the transnational spread of Covid-19 between Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana.
Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Teams in Bulilima Ward 10 have called for the speedy completion of the local clinic to enable early detection in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak in the ward.
Habakkuk Trust implores the Government to intensify border patrol measures in order to curb illegal entry or to engage their Botswana counterparts over the re-opening of Maitengwe border post for the sole purpose of receiving repatriated Zimbabwean nationals.
Source: Habukkuk Trust