Cross-border traders who usually spend days travelling by road, will be tested for Covid-19 in their respective areas and then collect results from a doctor in the border area they will be using, to enable them to have a valid PCR certificate at ports of entry within the stipulated 72 hours.
The arrangement will see the cross border traders only travelling to the border area when they would have been told of their status by the doctors.
Laboratories testing for Covid-19 are found in few major centres, and this arrangement will lessen travelling back and forth by cross border traders.
The arrangement has been made by the Cross-border Traders Association led by Mr Killer Zivhu, as it seeks to enable its members to do business with ease, with borders preparing to open on December 1 following months of closure as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The opening of the major borders will start with private passenger vehicles and pedestrian traffic being allowed through from December 1, but those crossing will be required to produce certificates showing they were tested for Covid-19 in the last 72 hours.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Zivhu said they partnered with laboratories testing Covid-19 so that results for cross border traders are sent to health facilities to the port they intended to use.
“This will cut the time the cross border traders use in travelling, first to collect the results and then getting back on the road to the border,” he said.
“If the testing is being down in Bulawayo, the cross-border traders will have samples taken, for instance in Kariba, and instead of travelling to Bulawayo to collect the certificate, they will be told of their results and if they are positive they then proceed to the border to collect the certificate on their way out.”
The testing centres organised by the association are in Harare, Beitbridge, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru and Masvingo.
Mr Zivhu said the partnership would result in traders paying a one-off US$35 for the tests, less than the US$65 mainly charged by other laboratories.
On their way back, the traders will be tested at the border without paying extra.
Mr Zivhu hailed President Mnangagwa for listening to the cross-border traders’ plea for borders to be opened, as most of them solely survived on cross-border trading.
“We make a pledge to the President that as cross-border traders we will return his goodwill and good heart by restricting ourselves to all Covid-19 protocols,” said Mr Zivhu. “We will do our best to cooperate with border officials and any authorities tasked with ensuring adherence to measures that help prevent the spread of the disease. As cross-border traders, when we come back with our goods from outside the country, we interact with lots of customers and we want to make sure and re-assure them that we are aware of the dangers that exist and we will do everything to make sure we do not become a source of spreading the disease.”