The trial of 73 Malawian border jumpers who were arrested in Beitbridge last week en-route to South Africa has failed to take off at the local magistrate court after 19 of the migrants tested positive for Covid-19.
Beitbridge District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr Lenos Samhere confirmed the development. “Following their arrest, they were brought for Covid-19 screening and 19 of them had by Friday tested positive. These have been put into isolation.
“Samples for the other members of the group are still being processed and these have been put into quarantine,” he said.
Dr Samhere said officials were on high alert to curb new infections and by the end of the day on Friday they had recorded 1 800 cases.
He said local cases had started to increase as compared to imported ones.
“Out of the 1 800 cases recorded as of Friday, local cases were now above 900 and they are rising. We encourage people to continue employing the set preventative measures to minimize the rate of new infections,” said the DMO.
The Malawian immigrants were busted 10km outside Beitbridge town last week on Tuesday evening at a security checkpoint along the Beitbridge-Masvingo highway.
It is understood that the group entered the country illegally and then boarded an intercity bus in Harare which took them to Beitbridge.
They were intercepted during routine security checks, just before getting into Beitbridge town.
Of late, there has been a marked increase in syndicates transporting Malawian immigrants into Zimbabwe via the Nyamapanda Border Post.