Zimbabweans seeking medical treatment in neighbouring country Zambia may have to wait longer than expected following a surge in coronavirus cases in the country and a level 4 lockdown imposed by the government last week, and earlier restrictions placed by Zambia.
According to cajnewsafrica.com, Zimbabweans in the border city of Victoria Falls rely mostly on hospitals across the Zambezi River in Livingstone where services are cheaper and readily available.
Health authorities have implored Victoria Falls residents to consider not travelling to COVID-19 hotspots, including Livingstone during the two-week Level 4.
“We are experiencing a steady rise in the number of new cases. Everyone is encouraged to strictly adhere to prevention measures of masking up, hand washing, sanitizing and maintaining social distance,” said Hwange District Medical Officer, Dr Fungai Mvura.
“Avoid travel to hotpot area and also note that Zambia is currently battling a massive third wave so those who seek medical services from Livingstone if you can postpone visiting the hospital there please do so,” Mvura said.
While Zimbabwe’s land borders have all along been closed and open only to returning citizens, those seeking specialized medical services were allowed to cross upon production of doctors’ prescriptions or referral letters of appointment.
Zambia, which over the months had left its borders open, effectively closed last week following a spike in cases especially in the tourism town of Livingstone.
Smugglers crossing undeterred between the two countries however remain cause for concern.
On Tuesday, the Zimbabwean government announced a ban on intercity travel.
Localised lockdowns have been imposed in some hotspots including Chinhoyi, Karoi, Kwekwe and Kariba.
At the time of publication, Zimbabwe had 47 284 cases, including 1 749 deaths from COVID-19.
Zambia had 152 056 cases and 2 138 deaths.