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Zim scraps PCR test requirement for incoming vaccinated travellers

Zimbabwe will no longer require returning residents and visitors who are fully vaccinated to present a negative PCR certificate at the country’s ports of entry.

PCR means a polymerase chain reaction test used to diagnose Covid-19 and is an accurate and reliable test for detecting the virus.

However, unvaccinated visitors and returning residents will still need to produce a negative PCR certificate issued in the last 48 hours before their journey when arriving at airports and land borders.

This decision was made at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday after noting the declining number of new Covid-19 new cases, most of which are now very mild or have no symptoms and increasing vaccination coverage.

“Cabinet has resolved that returning residents and visitors are no longer required to present a negative PCR certificate on arrival at ports of entry.  Only a valid vaccination certificate showing that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with any one of the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved vaccines will suffice,” said Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa.

The information minister said a negative PCR certificate will only be a requirement if the returning resident or visitor is not fully vaccinated.

“Government wishes to remind all citizens that Covid-19 is still with us and is, therefore, appealing to all Zimbabweans to continue adhering to the laid down World Health Organisation protocols at all times,” she said.

Mutsvangwa noted that as at March 28, 2022, Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 245 927, with 237 295 recoveries and 5 438 deaths.

“The recovery rate was 96 percent with 3 194 active cases having been recorded. The number of new Covid-19 cases decreased to 1 301 during the week under review, compared to the 2 004 recorded the previous week,” said the minister.

Number of cases in need of hospitalisation for Covid-19 continues to decrease, with Mutsvangwa highlighting that the country’s bed occupancy rate declined to 1.3 percent during the week under review, from 2.3 percent the previous week.

There were no admissions to the intensive care unit.

Regarding the national vaccination programme, the information minister advised that as at March 28, 2022, a total of 4 917 541 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 3 498 431 people had received their second dose.

A total of 288 693 third doses have been administered to date.

“The National Vaccination Blitz saw 481 005 doses administered between March 21 and 25, 2022.  Cabinet is encouraging those that have not yet been vaccinated to take advantage of this exercise,” said the information minister.

“The nation is also informed that the total number of Covid-19 cases detected in schools is on the decrease, and the vaccination of learners is in progress across the country.”

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