Domestic, international flights resume

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Sindiso Mhlophe

DOMESTIC and international flights are set to resume on Thursday and October 1  respectively after Cabinet’s approval yesterday, the Daily News reports.

This comes as the government recently approved the reopening of the tourism sector and recreational and leisure activities, including fishing, boat operations and game drives for domestic tourists.


Speaking during the post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare last night, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the flights would resume under strict coronavirus (Covid-19) mitigation measures.
“Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been put in place for the reopening of international and some domestic airports. The National Guidelines for Aviation Safety and Security have been developed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to ensure the safety of both the travellers and airport staff.
“These are additional to temperature testing, social distancing, sanitisation, and mandatory wearing of masks. All travellers will be required to have a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Covid-19 Clearance Certificate issued by a recognised facility within 48 hours from the date of departure in line with WHO guidelines,” Mutsvangwa said.
She added that Cabinet had also resolved that liquor retailers could resume operations in line with Covid-19 regulations and on condition that no liquor is consumed at their premises following presentations from the Liquor Retailers’ Association seeking permission to commence operations.
Mutsvangwa further said that in an effort to increase the number of Covid-19 tests in the country, the number of testing laboratories had increased to 32 countrywide  after the inclusion of the Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory, Unki Mine and Population Services International (PSI) on the inventory of the testing laboratories.
“The public may recall that Cabinet approved the establishment of a Covid-19 Experts Advisory Committee, whose objective will be to provide science-based evidence, advice and guidance on the National Covid-19 Preparedness and Response in support of timely evidence- based policy decisions.
“Today, Cabinet approved the appointment of the following members: Dr Tonderai Mapako, Tendai Kureya, Dr Justen Manasa, Professor Rudo Makunike-Mutasa, Dr Alex Gasasira, Dr Lincoln Charimari, Professor Rose Kambarami, Dr Gladwin Muchena, Dr Samson Shumbairerwa,  Dr Muteweye, Professor Rashida Ferrand, and  Ester Masunda.  The Committee is made up of professionals in the relevant fields who are expected to deliver on this important mandate,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet banned mining activities along river beds and reserved areas, including national parks.
This comes as the government has come under fire over harmful mining activities taking place at the Hwange and Chimanimani national parks.
“All riverbed alluvial and riverbed mining on rivers is banned with immediate effect, except on the Save and Angwa rivers where de-siltation will be allowed under very strict conditions.
“All those holding mining concessions will be given a grace period to be announced to obtain Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and State of Works Plan acceptance by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
“It was noted that the granting of mining concessions through mining claims and on special grant is not a licence for resumption of mining. All holders of mining titles are required to obtain approval of EIA and acceptance of site plan works by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. This position will be strictly reinforced by the two ministries responsible for Mines and Environment.
“Those who fail to regularise EIA and site plan works will be deemed to be operating illegally and will be subject to stiff penalties which are being reviewed,” Mutsvangwa said.
Mines minister Winston Chitando said the Mines and Minerals Act provided for the issuance of mining concessions to individuals or companies in reserved areas on condition that they acquire the EIA.
He added that in the case of Hwange, mining companies had not acquired the EIA hence the decision to cancel the concession.

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