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Mozambique Travel During COVID-19 (December, 2020)

Mozambique Travel update during COVID-19

We’ve all missed Mozambique travel during COVID-19 restrictions. At the time of writing, COVID-19 regulations and congestion are complicating the journey but Mozambique is a beautiful country, and once through the Forbes/Machipanda chaos, the border hassles will have been worth it. We trust these notes will prepare you for Mozambique travel during COVID-19 …

Mozambique COVID-19 Travel Regulations (at the time of writing):


A visitor may enter Mozambique with a PCR test certificate issued within 96 hours*. From the time the sample has been collected, travelers have 96 hours for the first border crossing. (*Extended from 72 hours and became effective on Saturday, 19 December). The regulations listed on the Facebook/DriveZim group state that if the visitor returns within 14 days, another COVD-19 test is not required. Regardless, arrange to have a PCR test in Mozambique, within 48 hours of issue, for re-entry into Zimbabwe (all ages).

Make sure you have your Yellow Fever Card if you have traveled to central or eastern Africa in the last 12 months.

A short overview of the documents to carry:
Passport, police clearance certificate, vehicle and trailer registration papers, and insurance certificate. If compliant in Zimbabwe, your vehicle will display the licence and insurance discs, and Third Plate.

Remember the SDC requirements for minors, who require specific documents when crossing borders. For more on this, http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/621-advisory-new-requirements-for-children-travelling-through-south-african-ports-of-entry-effective-1-june-2015

At the time of writing, fuel is cheaper in Mozambique and readily available.

Road conditions (Inchope to Vilanculos)

Once you turn towards Vilanculos at Inchope there are some bad potholes for approximately 50km but from then onwards the roads have been repaired or resurfaced all the way, making for a far more pleasant drive.

Curfew regulations (Inchope to Save Bridge)


With the ongoing Renamo/Frelimo tensions, a curfew has been imposed. 
The section between Inchope and Save Bridge is under a 19:00 to 07:00 curfew. The road only opens at 07:00 and the last car is allowed to enter either side at 15:30. In mid-December, 2020, a traveler reported 28 military and 4 police checkpoints.

A case of Cokes or frozen bottles of water will be appreciated and ensure that delays at the checkpoints will be kept to a minimum.

Vehicle equipment requirements for your Mozambique travel during COVID-19


We are often asked what the vehicle equipment requirements are for Mozambique. If your vehicle is compliant with Zimbabwe’s statutory requirements, you are well covered.

But unique to Mozambique are the following vehicle equipment requirements

  • If towing, you must display Mozambique yellow on blue triangles, which are available from Big Sky. The large decal is to be placed on the right-hand side at the rear of the trailer, and the small decal on the right front of the towing vehicle. Be aware these triangles are required ONLY if you’re towing …
  • We also recommend you carry a reflective vest for each occupant in the vehicle.

For your peace of mind, we recommend the following as essential equipment:

  • A good map. Big Sky stocks the Mozambique/Malawi InfoMap with GPS coordinates and points of interest.
  • You’ll want to drop your tire pressures when off the tar. This will improve your ride over corrugated gravel roads, and significantly reduce the chances of getting stuck in soft sand. An air compressor is essential for reflating tires before driving at high speeds. Big Sky stocks the T-Max 72 litre compressor which will inflate your 4×4’s tires faster than you’ll finish your Coke.
  • A decent tow strap will come in handy when you are a good Samaritan and recover a stuck vehicle …
  • Consider fitting a long-range fuel tank and avoid the hassle of jerry cans at the border and the roadside. Big Sky is supplying quality, auxiliary fuel tanks for a wide range of vehicles, including the Ford Ranger, Isuzu (6th generation), Toyota Hilux (Vigo and Revo), Landcruiser (75, 79, 80, 100 and 200 Series), Fortuner; and Nissan Hardbody and Navara, and VW Amarok. For more, visit https://bigsky.co.zw/tales-trails/ 
  • To check availability and price for your vehicle, email sean@bigsky.co.zw or call/WhatsApp on 0772-420-517    

Finally, you could be driving in isolated areas. Check the road worthiness of your vehicle, tyre condition, including the spare wheel, etc..

Take it easy and enjoy the drive, it is not only the destination that is beautiful. Wishing you a safe and hassle-free journey,

Obrigado,

The Big Sky Team

Published: 16 December, 2020

Other resources:
Facebook/Zimvine post 14 December, 2020 https://bit.ly/3nuzcaF
Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/DriveMoz

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An Update on the COVID-19 National Lockdown Legislation …

An update on the COVID-19 National Lockdown legislation …

We should be MORE vigilant during the national lockdown extension period, not less.

  1. The coronavirus is active in Zimbabwe, infection rates are increasing and as winter approaches, we are all potentially more vulnerable.
  2. The lockdown is still in place with very good reason – to restrict movement and limit the spread of the coronavirus. Despite the relaxations, the lockdown laws still reflect this need.
  3. As a result of the reduced restrictions during this phase of the lockdown, the risk of infection increases significantly, especially amongst commuters using public transport. Read on …

SI 99/2020 was published on 2nd May 2020, principally to extend the lockdown period to 17th May 2020, with important changes, including:

TESTING FOR COVID-19

Employers must arrange for the testing “at an agreed time at the workplace or at any other place agreed between them and an enforcement officer. Employers may contact the Ministry of Health Call Centre or the Ministry of Information Call Centre.”
Issues:

  1. To our knowledge, there are insufficient test kits in the country to test all employees in the formal commercial and industrial sectors.
  2. To our knowledge there are NO private, Ministry of Health approved institutions currently providing COVID-19 testing, to MoHCC specifications.
  3. SI 99/2020 is silent about the testing of the essential services already operating, including the food and agriculture sectors, mining, and manufacturing. How will COVID-19 testing be applied to these sectors?

Update 08:00, 4th May 2020

During a media briefing late on 3rd May 2002, the Minister of Information, Hon. M. Mutsvangwa announced the following designated medical (testing) facilities:
1) All government and municipality health facilities, mission hospitals, and New Start Centres (Not for Profit).
2) Designated private institutions include PSMI, Lancet Laboratories, and CIMAS.

In short, a large number of businesses who are permitted to resume trading and earning an income, from Monday, 4th May, cannot legally do so.

Update 20:00, 5th May 2020

At a post-cabinet briefing in Harare, the Minister of Information, Monica Mutsvangwa announced that companies in the commercial and industrial sectors opening under SI 99/2020, will be permitted to open subject to workers undergoing temperature tests when entering work premises, companies to provide sanitizers for workers on entry to sanitize their hands, each employee to wear a face mask and employees to practice social distancing in the workplace.

Update 07:00, 7th May 2020

SI 102/2020 is published on 6 May 2020, giving employers some reprieve. Companies in the commercial and industrial sectors opening under SI 99/2020, are given 14 days from 7th May 2020 to have workers tested. The 14-day period starts at a later date if the company can prove it re-opened at a later date. Subsection (3a) gives the Minister of Health the option to request companies to retest workers within 30 days.

CONTACT NUMBERS FOR COVID-19 TESTING

Covid-19 Call Centre number is 2019.

General contact for Ministry of Health is (0242)798555/60 and email pr@mohcc.gov.zw

The toll-free number for the Ministry of Information Call & Data Centre is 2023.

Note: There are private clinics carrying out both rapid results testing (RRT) and Polymerase Chain Reaction testing (PCR). The cost of the RRT is around US$25.00 and US$65.00 for the PCR.  Clinics include Lancet Laboratories and CIMAS.

Businesses are at all times to observe the social distancing rule at the workplace, to wear protective masks, and to make available for use by employees and other persons hand sanitizing liquid.

FACE MASKS

A face mask, manufactured or improvised, capable of covering the nose and mouth of the wearer, must be worn by anyone permitted to leave his or her home, or in any public space.

THE FORMAL COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL SECTOR

From 4th May 2020, businesses in the formal commercial and industrial sectors are permitted to operate. Employers and employees in these sectors are now regarded as persons employed in an essential service. Formal businesses include those that hold a shop licence, are VAT registered, a lessee, etc.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

ZUPCO (and its franchised bus operators), remains the sole authorised public transporter. (Kombis and mshika-shika are still prohibited from operating). Every vehicle operated by ZUPCO must be disinfected against COVID-19 by or at the direction of an enforcement officer at least twice daily. Every individual must be temperature-tested and have his or her hands sanitised before being allowed to board any vehicle. Every individual in or about a vehicle used for a transport service must observe the social distancing requirement of at least one meter.

Issues: Under normal circumstances, there were already insufficient ZUPCO buses operating, even with the kombi’s and private vehicles operating. We can expect considerable pressure on passenger loading points and on the buses, with zero likelihood that one-metre distancing will be maintained between passengers. In our view, this is the area with the greatest risk of infection amongst employees commuting to work

Before resuming work for the first time during the national lockdown, every employee and employer (in business in the formal commercial and industrial sector), must be screened and tested for the COVID-19 disease, whether by use of the rapid results diagnostic test (RRDT) or other test approved by the Minister of Health. The rapid results diagnostic test is defined as “a test for the presence or absence in an individual of COVID-19 whose results are obtainable instantly or on the same day as the test.

Questions we at Big Sky Supplies are regularly asked

Need for exemption letters: If your business or industry falls under the definition of essential services (which includes the formal commercial and industrial sectors, from 4th May), an exemption letter from the relevant Ministry is not required, as the statutory instruments represent the authorisation. However, company representatives must carry a letter from their employee, with ID numbers, to pass through checkpoints.

Right to exercise: Unlike South Africa, there is no provision for exercising in public spaces. As exercise builds immunity through both physical and mental well-being we trust that the authorities will relax on this issue during the next stage of the lockdown. In the meanwhile, as we have stated before, there is nothing preventing you from walking to the shops within a 5 km radius of your home.

Is travel around the country permitted? Inter-city travel is still restricted. ZUPCO remains the sole authorised public transporter. Members of the public can still only travel on essential service and must carry documentation or similar proving the purpose of the trip. Where practical, we recommend not more than one person in a vehicle, to avoid the appearance of ‘holidaying’. If more than one passenger is travelling, all must be carrying ‘letters’.

NOTES:
If a matter is not amended in one of the recent statutory instruments, the requirements of the original Public Health Order, still apply.

These notes are provided for guidance only, and should be read with the Public Health Order, COVID-19 and subsequent amendments, copies are available on request.

Thank you, #stayathomestaysafe

The BIG SKY TEAM

Acknowledgment: With thanks to Howard Dean, publisher of ‘Labour Relations Information Service’ (LRIS), and ‘Business Information Zimbabwe’ (BIZ) for his contribution to this update. (Subscriptions cover costs. If you are interested in paying a six-monthly subscription to receive regular updates of LRIS and BIZ, email aquamor@mweb.co.zw for details of how to subscribe. ZW$2,500.00 covers six months).