Botswana will relax public cross-border transport operations starting next week Tuesday, says the country’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulaganyo Segokgo.
Segokgo announced Sunday that this was being done ahead of the busy festive season.
Segokgo said the routes to be serviced include South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“The government has taken a decision to permit the movement of cross border passenger transport. This will commence on December 1, 2020. It will primarily affect a number of borders,” Segokgo said.
The Ramokgwebana-Plumtree border post is the busiest port, processing more than one million visitors every year. A large number of Zimbabweans cross into the neigbouring country every day.
Migrants have been kept at bay since March, when most southern African countries placed a restriction on movement, which included closing entry points, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Segokgo said while passenger movement will be allowed, COVID-19 protocols will continue to be observed.
“I must emphasise that we still need to exercise all the necessary caution and follow the protocols that have been developed by health officials towards the prevention of the COVID-19 infections,” he said.
Botswana is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, which are now close to 10,000, but with a relatively low mortality rate of 30.
Segokgo said all vehicles must be sanitized, while travelers must present a negative COVID-19 certificate, within 72 hours of the test.
“There will be no drink or beverages sold throughout the trip. This is also towards the prevention of the disease,” he said.
Some migrants have welcomed the move to resume cross border passenger services.
“We have not been home since last December and it will be a good thing if we are allowed to travel, obviously taking precautions,” said Mthabisi Dube, a Zimbabwean working in Gaborone.