Why is Zimbabwe demanding PCR tests from those fully vaccinated to travel?


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Zimbabwe has opened its borders but is still demanding that those who are fully vaccinated should have PCR (polymerase chain reaction.) tests to cross its borders.

Vaccination is free while the cheapest PCR tests are US$30 or R500.

With only 3.4 million having been fully vaccinated and just 1% having received the booster shot when the country has enough vaccines for 10 million people, one would have thought that the opening of the borders would open doors to get more people to get vaccinated by allowing free entry to those fully vaccinated.

As things stand, what the government seems to be saying is that the PCR test is more important than vaccination, though it requires both.

With almost all the PCR tests being carried out by private laboratories while vaccination is done free by the government, one wonders why the government is insisting on PCR tests unless the government, or someone in government, has a stake in the private laboratories.

Vaccination figures have been disappointing. The programme kicked off in February last year and by end of March 500 342 people had been vaccinated, both one and two doses.

People started flocking to vaccination centres in July and August, at the peak of the Delta variant which killed 2 630 people in those two months.  Nearly 1.1 million got the jab in July and 1.8 million in August.

The figures have been going down since, despite the government proclaiming that it wanted to vaccinate 10 million people by the end of the year.

In January the number of people that were vaccinated was down to 367 000, including more than 50 000 that received the booster shot.  In February, though shorter by only three days, the number was down to 247 000.

 

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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