Zim Consulate In Joburg Closes After Two Officers Test Positive For COVID-19

THE Zimbabwean Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa has been temporarily closed after two its officers tested positive for COVID-19, a cabinet minister has said.

By Michael Gwarisa

In a media briefing, information and broadcasting services minister, Honorable Monica Mustvangwa said  the officers have already been isolated in a secluded lodge and most services are currently being offered online.

On a sad note, the nation is informed that the Consulate in Johannesburg has temporarily closed after two confirmed cases of COVID19 were recorded among the officers.  The officers who tested positive had been to Limpopo and Lindela Detention Centre to screen and assist Zimbabweans who were being repatriated home. The total number of recorded positive cases among Consulate staff and dependents now stands at six.

“The Consulate is now offering most of its services online to reduce the exposure of officers to contact with those seeking consular services. Meanwhile, two of those who tested positive have been checked into an isolation lodge away from their families,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She added that government continues to facilitate the repatriation of citizens in South Africa from the 2600 who initially registered for repatriation. A total  137 Zimbabwean nationals were repatriated from Durban and KZN on 19 June 2020.

“In regards to the repatriation of students from foreign countries, it has been established that there are no students on Government scholarships who have signaled a desire to be repatriated back home. However, the only exceptions were 5 students from India, who have since arrived in the country.

“Negotiations are underway with financial institutions to set up an ad-hoc ticket loan facility that could enable the purchase of tickets by families who wish to repatriate students who have been self-funding their studies abroad. Families in Zimbabwe would be able to borrow money from such a facility to purchase one-way tickets. The terms and conditions of such a loan facility would be subject to the financial institutions’ internal policies.”

Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa commended the Zimbabwean staff at  embassies and consulates abroad that have been working and liaising with citizens and students to ensure that their smooth repatriation back home.

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