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Lodge tackles government bungle on COVID-19

Lodge tackles government bungle on COVID-19

from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls
VICTORIA FALLS, (CAJ News) A self-catering, three-bedroom lodge has emerged the solution to an oversight by the Zimbabwean government when it recently opened its border with Zambia for tourists vaccinated against the coronavirus.

When the government allowed Kazungula and Victoria Falls borders to open for the tourists, it made no provision for eventualities such as the need to isolate any tourist that tests COVID-19 positive upon entry.

It appears the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa was too eager to reopen the borders after concern by industry players the sector was facing imminent collapse.

The resumption of core business by the Phezulu Lodge, which last year was designated as a quarantine centre for returning citizens added to the lack of a quarantine facility.

Prospective tourists have been reluctant to travel, fearing there were no provisions for their safety in the event they tested positive while in Zimbabwe.

Malachite House, an Airbnb facility, is the new isolation centre set aside for tourists that test positive in Victoria Falls.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care has approved it,” confirmed Dr Fungai Mvura, the Acting District Medical Officer for Hwange.

Tourists who get isolated at the facility will pay for their stay
charged at US$40 per person per day.

Catering is charged separately with some restaurants ready to deliver or hotel staff run errands of buying and delivering groceries for the inmates for a fee.

There is access to cleaning materials and basic amenities, TV with
Netflix and access to Wifi.

Medical personal protective equipment such as sanitisers, masks and thermometers are provided at the clients’ expense.

According to health protocols, visitors produce a valid negative test certificate upon entry and are also required to have another test before departing.

Each test costs $60 and should be done 24 hours before departure.

This might result in tourists being made to stay for ten extra days after their planned visit as positive cases are usually detected when they test prior to departure.

The need for isolating arises in the event that a visitor tests positive upon entry or prior to departure.

One is required to isolate at a designated facility for a period of ten days from the day of testing positive and will not be discharged until the last day even if they test negative during the period.

Those with severe symptoms may have to be transferred to designated health facilities for COVID-19 treatment.

While no cases have been reported lately from tourists, some cases were recorded among some visitors that attended some conferences held in Victoria Falls in June.

This was a wake-up call to the country’s health system and tourism
industry.

Victoria Falls has vaccinated more than 22000 of its residents which authorities, representing about 60 percent of the population, enough to achieve herd immunity.

– CAJ News

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