Covid-19: Residents red flag over truck drivers, illegal cross border traders

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By Staff Reporter

MUTARE residents say truck drivers and illegal cross-border traders posed the biggest risk of transiting coronavirus among city dwellers because of their continued movements across into neighbouring Mozambique.

For that, they have called on authorities to impose stringent measures on the movement of the two groups to avert the situation.

Mutare is close to the Mozambican border where there is movement among citizens crossing into the eastern neighbour mostly to source for cheaper food items and clothing.

Since government imposed its lockdown measures against the spread of coronavirus, borders have remained closed.

However, this has not stopped some daring locals from crossing there illegally, while truck drivers remain the few among groups of citizens permitted to travel across borders.

Residents feel the two groups pose a threat and must be monitored as they pass through the city with security agents implored to increase surveillance on the porous border to curb border jumping mostly during the night.

Fears among residents have been heightened by recent reports some six Zimbabwean truck drivers tested positive for Covid-19 in Zambia after crossing through Chirundu border post.

Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rely on Port Beira in Mozambique to export and import their cargo and trucks in transit pass through Zimbabwe.

Clive Muchabveyo, a Palmerstone resident in Mutare is apprehensive the country’s gains achieved in taming the internal infection rate could be reversed if the movement of truck drivers and illegal cross border traders is not checked.

“Those people will bring coronavirus because they are not subjected to screening or mandatory quarantine.

“Security agents should be on high alert on porous borders,” said Miriam Mohaamed of Darlington suburb.

Others felt drivers should be compelled to remain next to their trucks during the border clearance process and be barred from picking passengers along routes.

An investigation by this publication also revealed that some illegal cross border traders were using social media platforms such as Whatsapp to advertise their services.

“Mozambican runner please inbox for your orders now cheap rice, spaghetti and second clothes bales,” read a message on social media.