This week Zimbabwe reopened its borders for travel after closing them on March 3. The country shares borders with South Africa, the worst affected country in Africa by COVID-19, Mozambique, Botswana, and Zambia. The Zimbabwean government gave the orders to reopen following a reduction in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Reopening of Zimbabwe Borders
The country expects to have an increase of people at the border post as the festive season approaches. Zimbabwe decided to make it mandatory for everyone wanting to cross borders to present COVID-19 certificates. The move is seen as a means to limit the spread of COVID-19 as people showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be let into the country.
Last month, Zimbabwe allowed domestic flights’ resumption while international flights were allowed again at the beginning of this month. But cross-border public transport is still prohibited. Meanwhile, this month the government allowed borders, tourism facilities, and intercity traveling to reopen.
Over the past 60 days, Zimbabwe reported a consistent drop in the number of coronavirus cases. The average numbers of daily confirmed cases are less than 30. Thus, the government decided to continue with the second step in its phased reopening of the already struggling economy hard hit by the pandemic. The World health organization (W.H.O), however, urged African countries seeing a reduction in COVID-19 cases to practice caution despite registering a drop in infections.
Zimbabweans Accuaring Fake COVID-19 Certificates
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans frequently visited neighboring countries to buy clothes, groceries, and other essential items. Because of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, many manufacturers close their businesses, making some commodities unavailable or too expensive in Zimbabwe. Additionally, with the unemployment rate being above 80% in Zimbabwe, many Zimbabweans cross into other countries searching for work.
The reopening of borders this week and the already battered economy made worse by the outbreak of COVID-19 has made it hard for those wanting to cross borders. Very few Zimbabweans can afford to pay for the genuine COVID-19 certificates requires at border points. The tests done mostly at private hospitals are costing up to $80 in Zimbabwe. Due to this, most Zimbabweans seek assistance from those who can sell them fake certificates for travel.
The arrest of two Individuals Selling Fake Certificates
This week police in Zimbabwe arrested two such people for selling fake COVID-19 test results. Zimbabwe police arrested the two men in the country’s northern Chirundu border post, the gateway to neighboring Zambia. Police spokesman Paul Nyathi said they caught the two after receiving a public tip concerning their wrongdoing. He added that the two were originating fake COVID-19 certificates despite having no medical qualifications. Furthermore, police caught the two culprits in possession of more than 330 blank certificates and testing kits, and a needles packet.
Nyathi warned travelers to acquire certificates from approved institutions and avoid risking arrest and losing their money to people selling bogus certificates. He lastly said that the police would investigate the extent of the scam, highlighting that desperation to cross borders during the festive season could increase the sales of the false certificates.