Govt Reinforces Ban On Second-Hand Cloth Imports Amid COVID-19 Contamination Fears

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE government has called on police to strictly enforce the ban on the importation of the popular and cheap second-hand clothes as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 through contamination.

Second-hand clothes, according to government, are a danger to people who wear them especially during the current coronavirus pandemic.

At a post-cabinet media briefing Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said most second-hand clothes were being smuggled into Zimbabwe through illegal border crossings in Manicaland province.

“Cabinet noted with concern that the apparent increase in the smuggling of second-hand clothes into the country through border posts such as Mt Selinda and Sango poses an unprecedented danger of contracting COVID-19 by those who wear them,” Mutsvangwa told journalists.

“Government will henceforth upscale the enforcement of the law banning the importation of second-hand clothes and that the law banning the importation and sale of second-hand clothes be strictly enforced.”

Second-hand clothes are popular with the majority of hard-pressed Zimbabweans because they are affordable compared to items found in clothing shops.

The selling of used clothes had also become a source of livelihood for thousands of Zimbabweans in all cities and towns with second hand clothing markets often teeming with customers.

However, the vending sites of used clothes across the country remain closed while some have been destroyed as part of authorities’ clean-up measures.

The ban on selling second-hand clothes was passed years ago by the government to promote local industry.