Zimbabwe’s Parliament says the country’s porous borders may prove to be the country’s achilles heel in its fight to contain the latest wave of Covid-19 cases.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Health and Child Care, Dr Ruth Labode believes porous borders are aiding illegal travel, leading to some undetected cases being smuggled into the country.
“Borders are closed but unfortunately because we depend on importation of food it will be impossible to totally close, the only thing we can do is to aggressively vaccinate.
“If they can really vaccinate seriously, it should not be a problem because they will not have severe disease. The borders are porous, we can never totally seal them,” Labode told ZTN.
In the last 24 hours, the country recorded six Covid-19 related deaths and 519 new infections, 228 of which were recorded in Mashonaland West province, which has some of its districts under lockdown.
The surge in cases in the province has been attributed to its proximity to Zambia which is battling a rapid spread of the virus.
Land borders remain closed except for commercial cargo and other exceptions.
Zambia has recorded 3 028 cases and 53 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile authorities have said Covid-19 hot spots around the country, which include border towns, will be prioritized in the mass vaccination programme.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa in a cabinet briefing on Tuesday said the country is expecting to receive 500 000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines this Saturday.
“The nation is advised that the next priority areas of vaccination are the remaining border posts, especially Forbes, Chirundu and Kariba, current hotspots, tobacco auction floors and people’s markets such as Renkini in Bulawayo, Mbare Musika in Harare and Sakubva Musika in Mutare.
“The Grain Marketing Board staff and COTTCO staff as well as the Hwange population will also be included in the vaccination programme.”