By Thandiwe Garusa
CITIZENS returning to Zimbabwe will now take care of their own quarantine expenses, a government minister has announced.
Addressing journalists at the Post-Cabinet press briefing Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government would no longer take care of quarantine expenses for those coming back to Zimbabwe.
“Citizens returning to Zimbabwe will now be quarantined at their own expense. Furthermore, those travellers found positive for Covid-19 will be isolated at an isolation centre at the own expense,” Mutsvangwa said.
“In order to ensure enforcement of Statutory Instrument No. 108 of 2021 in relation to the country’s ports of entry and exit, cabinet wishes to advise that citizens returning to Zimbabwe will now be quarantined at their own expense.”
She added; “Furthermore, those travellers found to be positive for Covid-19 will be isolated at an isolation centre at their own expense”
“Cabinet also wishes to inform the public that the Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and (National Lockdown (No.2) Order, 2020 published in Statutory Instrument (SI) 200 of 2020 was amended on Friday 14 May 2021 and published in SI 119.
“The major highlight of the amendment is that it now defines persons entering Zimbabwe into 3 categories, namely: (a) returning citizens or residents of Zimbabwe; (b) persons referred to in section 8(1)(i) of the Statutory Instrument (SI), and (c) a national or ordinary resident of a SADC country in transit through Zimbabwe to another SADC country.”
In the past, the government has been paying quarantine expenses for returning citizens and travellers en route from neighbouring South Africa to Zambia or Malawi.
More than 200,000 Zimbabweans have returned home over the past year due to the economic fallout from Covid-19 in countries where they had been living and working.
Meanwhile, Information Secretary Nick Mangwana says every traveller coming into the country must undergo a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test not more than 48 hours before departure to Zimbabwe.
All those entering Zim must undergo a PCR test not more than 48 hrs before their departure. At the port of entry, an enforcement officer may decide to test anyone at their expense. No PCR test certificate – no entry. With valid negative test – 10-day self-quarantine at home or hotel,” he said.
While receiving his first Covid-19 vaccine jab in the resort city of Victoria Falls in March, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said it was important for the tourist destination to achieve herd immunity to assure visiting tourists that the entire population had been vaccinated.