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Passport office to observe Covid-19 regulations

by Staff reporter
01 May 2020 at 07:52hrs | Views
THE Department of the Registrar General has said once it resumes services, people will be served in batches according to their surnames as part of measures to avert the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement issued yesterday, the department said it had implemented a raft of measures to control numbers and avoid crowding at its offices while ensuring that people in need of services are not inconvenienced. Most services at the registry, including passport applications were suspended during the knockdown that will run until May 3.

The department said when services resume after lockdown, people applying for passports will be divided into groups according to the alphabetical order of their names, a development that will see people going to seek services only on a specific weekday under which their surnames fall, as directed.

The department advised applicants who applied for urgent passports prior to the lockdown and were booked, to contact respective passport offices for further information and management. Those applying for ordinary passports will have to wait for the day in which their surname falls, alphabetically.

"The registry department wishes to inform its valued clients and members of the public in general, that in line with implementation of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the need to avoid overcrowding at the registry offices, after the lockdown and when services resume, the department will serve its clients as follows: Persons in need of urgent passports are advised as usual to submit written applications at their local passport offices countrywide. Applicants will then be advised of an appointment and time in which they are to visit the passport for processing of their applications," read the statement.

"Applications coming to apply for non-urgent passports will be served in alphabetical order using their surnames, categorized as follows; Monday A-F, Tuesday G-L, Wednesday M, Thursday N-S and Friday T-Z. Applicants from the diaspora and those with free funds will continue to be served as they come."

For birth certificates, national identity documents and other services, the department said no more than 50 people will be served at the same time at the registry offices around the country. "In line with the need to limit public gatherings to not more than 50 people and ensure social distancing, members of the public being advised that queues at these offices will accordingly be limited to no more than 50 people at a time," read the statement.

"These measures are necessary for the protection of both staff and our valued clients against Covid-19. The department is committed to continue supporting Government efforts to prevent the spread the spread of Covid-19 by enforcing social distancing and maintaining hygiene. We call upon our valued clients and stakeholders to cooperate and support the department in this endeavour."

In January, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said there is a passport backlog of between 350 000 and 400 000 passports.

Source - chronicle