BEITBRIDGE Border Post has seen the number of incoming travellers drop significantly as increasing numbers of people heed advice by both South African and Zimbabwean authorities to avoid unnecessary trips.
Part of the decline is attributable to more people avoiding or postponing shopping trips and leisure travel.
On average, 14 000 people and 70 buses used to pass through Beitbridge daily in both directions and the number increases to a combined 38 000 travellers and 120 buses in both directions in peak times.
Though he could not give figures, the assistant regional immigration officer in charge of Beitbridge, Mr Nqobile Ncube confirmed that the number of people being cleared, especially on the entry side, was on the decline.
“I cannot give you any statistics at the moment, but yes we have noted a decline especially on people coming into the country,” he said.
As a way of intensifying operations at the border, Government has moved the port health centre to a checkpoint near the New Limpopo and the Alfred Beit bridges to ensure no-one can evade routine screening.
Buses and vehicles are dropping off people at the screening point before proceeding to the main border arena.
The checkpoint is manned by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army. Since the last fortnight border authorities made the screening of travellers coming into the country mandatory.
When travellers arrive at the border they first go to the port health point for screening and only when they are cleared there can they proceed to immigration formalities.
After being screened, if they have no signs of illness, they are given a tag to tender along with their passports at immigration.
In addition to that the travellers are required to sanitise their hands before handing over their passports to immigration officials, who have gloves and face masks and also sanitise their hands to reduce their risks.