Groceries being smuggled through the various porous border systems into Zimbabwe are pausing yet another problem for beleaguered Zimbabwe, that of spreading the novel coronavirus to recipients of the groceries in Zimbabwe, The Zimbabwe Independent reports.
The publication spoke to different recipients and senders of the groceries mainly from neighbouring countries, chief among them South Africa which has Africa’s highest number of COVID-19 cases.
The publication established that these groceries are sent through an informal channel where senders meet with would-be couriers off their loading sites and do underhand dealings where goods bound for Zimbabwe and money to pay for the services are exchanged.
This has increased the risk for both the drivers ferrying the good and the recipients of the goods and all their contact trains.
Commenting on the issue, Executive director of the Community Working Group on Health Itai Rusike pointed out the obvious and said:
The smuggling of goods, foodstuffs, people and dead bodies by truck drivers fuels the risk of Covid-19 transmission as the disinfection procedures are per World Health Organisation and public health guidelines are not being followed. The contaminated foodstuffs and goods during smuggling of dead bodies may be the reason why the country is experiencing an increased number of unexplained local transmission figures
There is need to enhance monitoring and surveillance along the country’s borders and ports of entry to reduce smuggling and also reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections. There should be targeted Covid-19 health literacy, health education and awareness campaigns amongst truck drivers so that there is informed participation of truck drivers in the Covid-19 response.
More: The Zimbabwe Independent