THE Government is increasing the capacity of border personnel at Beitbridge to screen and test travelers coming into the country from South Africa where there is a high infection rate.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro said it was very critical for the Government to put all necessary systems in place ahead of the gradual opening of land borders. He made the remarks during the tour of Beitbridge Border Post on Saturday. He said more PCR testing machines were being deployed to the border which at peak handles 15 000 people daily.
Currently, the border is handling less than 1 000 people mainly those handling essential and special cargo and returning residents.
“We toured Beitbridge border, where we discovered that we need to introduce foot and wheel baths for vehicles and people as soon as they enter from South Africa,” said Dr Mangwiro.
“Most of the workers in offices were poorly protected and we have recommended improvements so that they don’t spread the virus. We need to make sure that we control whatever comes in before it leaves the border.
“So the workers there need maximum protection, social distancing needs to be marked properly. Those meeting people should be properly donned.”
He said already the Government had started deploying automated thermometers and sanitisers to improve efficiency.
Dr Mangwiro said the use of manual gadgets was risky and delaying the smooth flow of traffic.
“At the isolation and quarantine centre, we need automated machines to improve the way of doing business.
It is good that the Government workers and our partners are working hard,” said the Deputy Minister.
He said it was also important for the security to ramp up patrols on the borderline where the illegal movement of people who later converge on urban centres was high.
The Deputy Minister said Government was also working on equipping Beitbridge District Hospital with an isolation centre to carry 30 people so that it can be able to cope with any eventualities.
“We have engaged the Minister of Energy and Power Development to ensure that all hospitals in Matabeleland South are adequately supplied with electricity.
“In addition, the Beitbridge Isolation Centre needs upgrading in terms of accessories for the Intensive Care and HDU by availing piped oxygen to cope with any eventuality related to Covid-19 illness. They have little tanks which are not enough and we are starting work immediately,” he said.