The meeting, which was chaired by Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba John Kabudi, was a continuation to another one that was held in May, which among other things rapt the expanded technical committee on health to meet by June 5 and come up with revised regional guidelines on harmonisation and facilitation of cross border transport operations across the region,.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Hon. Dr. Sibusiso Moyo, who led a delegation of ministers, permanent secretaries and senior Government officials, said Zimbabwe, and the region at large, were now adapting to the new normal that has been brought by Covid-19.
“Member countries are preparing to open up, so that they can make their economic activities active and that obviously increases the trade and transit of both trade and people and these are the implications of trying to reopen, however, it depends with where the Covid-19 is going to take us. We are going to live with the new normal, so that the livelihoods of people have to be satisfied at the same time guaranteeing the safety of Zimbabweans,” said Dr Moyo.
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, several SADC countries, including Zimbabwe, introduced national lockdowns and enforced strict border movements. However, the expanded technical committee on health called upon member states to gradually open up, not only to traffic but also to non-essential services including people.
“Whilst we were talking about trade, the meeting also agreed on the issues to do with the movement of persons. It is not only the movement of traffic that is important, but it is in particular the human beings who are the subject of Covid-19 and who are subjected to different forms of testing in member countries.
“In this light, the meeting also agreed that the executive secretariat is mandated to work with the extended technical committee which presented its report today to the council so that it could make recommendations on the standards, guidelines and recommendations which can persuade the member states to behave in a particular manner