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Covid-19 testing scrapped for fully vaccinated arrivals

by Staff reporter
30 Mar 2022 at 06:14hrs | Views
Covid-19 testing for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Zimbabwe is no longer required, which should speed up business travel and help tourism, although the unvaccinated still have to present a recent negative test result.

Cabinet agreed to dropping the compulsory negative test result for arriving visitors and returning residents so long as they could show they were fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation.

The change will save travellers about US$60, depending on clinic offering tests, and comes as a major boost for fully immunised travellers.

Other containment measures like mandatory wearing of face masks remain in place and people are still encouraged to minimise unnecessary social contact as well as maintaining high levels of hygiene.

Speaking after yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, announced the policy change.

"Cabinet has resolved that returning residents and visitors are no longer required to present a negative PCR certificate on arrival at ports of entry.

"Only a valid vaccination certificate showing that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with any one of the WHO approved vaccines will suffice," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

The move was in recognition of the declining Covid-19 new cases, most of which are now very mild or have no symptoms and increasing vaccination coverage.

"A negative PCR certificate will only be a requirement if the returning resident or visitor is not fully vaccinated."

Minister Mutsvangwa reminded that although compulsory negative tests were no longer needed for the fully vaccinated, Covid-19 was still a threat and everyone needed to adhere to containment measures as a way of minimising its spread .

"Government wishes to remind all citizens that Covid-19 is still with us and is, therefore, appealing to all Zimbabweans to continue adhering to the laid down World Health Organisation protocols at all times."

Zimbabwe has won several international plaudits for the way it has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic which has minimised deaths, although they have reached 5 434 out of 245 927 cases.

Minister Mutsvangwa spoke on the very positive uptake of the Covid-19 vaccines following the immunisation blitz.

The accelerated programme of vaccination last week saw medical teams sent to schools to activate the month-old decision that children aged 12 and above could now be vaccinated.

So far close to five million have received first doses, more than 3,5 million have received their second doses while almost 300 000 have received booster shots.

"The National Vaccination Blitz saw 481 005 doses being administered between March 21 and 25, 2022," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Cabinet is encouraging those that have not yet been vaccinated to take advantage of this exercise.

"The nation is also being informed that the total number of Covid-19 cases detected in schools is on the decrease, and the vaccination of learners is in progress across the country," she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the number of cases in need of hospitalisation for Covid-19 continued to decrease, with the country's bed occupancy rate declining to 1.3 percent during the week under review, from 2.3 percent the previous week.

"There were no admissions to the intensive care unit," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Source - The Herald