Zambia border closures halt inbound medical travel

Empty airport at Lusaka, Zambia, due to COVID-19

A lockdown imposed by the Zimbabwean government and the earlier restrictions placed by Zambia, are a major blow for Zimbabweans relying on Zambia for medical services.

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.

While Zimbabwe’s land borders have been closed (opening only to returning citizens), those seeking specialised 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 at the end of June following a spike in cases in the tourism town of Livingstone.

The Zimbabwean government has also announced a ban on intercity travel.

Localised lockdowns have been imposed in some hotspots including Chinhoyi, Karoi, Kwekwe and Kariba.