TOURISTS that have received the coronavirus vaccine are now exempt from Zimbabwe’s closure of the border with Zambia.
This follows the Zimbabwean government opening the Victoria Falls and Kazungula border posts for such visitors.
The government has thus acceded to the request by the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ).
Wengayi Nhau, the TBCZ president, said the country could adopt a “new normal approach” that includes incentivising vaccinated citizens by allowing them to travel as well as to open the two borders to save the tourism industry from collapse.
Many tourism companies were contemplating further laying off workers and closing because of lack of business in an industry hardest hit by COVID-19 because of international and local travel restrictions.
In a post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday evening, Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the government considered that over 60 percent of Victoria Falls residents had been vaccinated, hence government eased restrictions on the borders.
“Cabinet has acceded to a request by the tourism industry to open the Victoria Falls and Kazungula Border Posts to tourists who are fully vaccinated,” she said.
Victoria Falls and Kazungula borders are key to Victoria Falls’ tourism as they connect to the region.
Mutsvangwa however said the Level 4 lockdown measures remained in place.
The minister said the government noted the need to strengthen efforts to contain the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which has infected 99 944 people and killed 3 173.
Zimbabwe has 28 944 active cases.
A total of 1 491 493 people had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, as the country of 15 million targets 60 percent national herd immunity.
The tourism hubs of Victoria Falls, Kariba and Chiredzi lead in the number of people vaccinated.