SEVERAL Zimbabweans trying to enter Zambia through the Victoria Falls border have been turned back after being screened for cholera by health authorities deployed in Livingstone.
Immigration department spokesperson, Mulako Mbangweta confirmed the development but could not give figures as the screening was being handled by a multi-sectoral cholera task force.
Ms Mbangweta, however, said the health officials were at the border checking on people who were entering the country and only those certified to be cholera-free were being allowed entry.
More than 500 people in Zimbabwe have died of cholera and the government there has declared the epidemic a national disaster.
Ms Mbangweta said the screening process had continued to ensure the disease was kept away from Zambia.
“Our immigration officers at the border have confirmed that health officials have been stationed at the border to check on those entering the country and depending on what the health authorities say, some people are being turned back,” she said.
A cholera task force source at the border said several people had been denied entry into Zambia.
The source also said the frequency of one crossing the border had been reduced to twice a week to avert the spread of the disease to Livingstone.
The source said in its tightened screening measures to ensure that cholera did not spread to Zambia, the task force had also confiscated uncertified food and destroyed it.
“The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe is serious and we are not taking any chances,” he said.
He said some of the goods confiscated by the team included game meat, fruits and others that the Zimbabwean nationals carry for sale in Zambia.
He said the situation could have been more threatening if the neighboring Victoria Falls town had been severely hit by the disease, but it was concentrated in the capital, Harare, and surrounding towns.
Other measures intensified to thwart the spread of the disease included thorough hand washing by both the traveling public and the officers manning the check point.
Many Zimbabweans cross into Zambia to sell wares that include cellular phones, sweets and chocolates.
Times of Zambia