Zim targets increased Covid-19 testing in Beitbridge
Harare (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe government has deployed additional Covid-19 testing equipment to Beitbridge, the border town between Zimbabwe and South Africa, to increase its testing capacity in light of the increasing number of returnees from that country, a senior official has said.
Zimbabwe has recorded 784 Covid-19 cases, the bulk of which are imported cases from South Africa, which has recorded over 200 000 cases.
On Tuesday, returnees from South Africa alone accounted for 16 of the 53 new cases recorded.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Nick Mangwana said the decision was in light of the high number of Zimbabweans returning home from South Africa via Beitbridge border post.
All returnees are subjected to mandatory Covid-19 testing and quarantine.
“Today (Wednesday), Beitbridge is getting a PCR machine similar to the one at Mpilo Hospital which can run 400 tests a day,” said Mangwana.
“This will help this major port of entry to deal with the high number of returnees that come through it.”
In addition to prioritising testing all returnees, the government has also set its sights on a major national Covid-19 sampling exercise targeting at least 2 000 households.
All along, returning citizens and high risk groups were the only ones being tested for the disease.
The new testing thrust is in light of the increasing number of local transmissions, which peaked at 34 on Tuesday.
Of the 34 new local transmissions recorded on Tuesday, 29 are contacts of known cases while the source of infection for the other five is yet to be determined.
Zimbabwe recorded its first case of Covid-19 at the end of March, after which the government declared a nationwide lockdown to try and contain the further spread of the virus.
The influx of citizens returning home following lockdowns in most countries around the world beginning mid-April has seen an exponential growth in cases with South Africa topping the numbers followed by the United Kingdom and Botswana.
Zimbabwe has said it will not close its doors to its citizens wanting to return home and expects to receive more over the coming months.