SA is advising travellers who came into the country via the Beitbridge border post in the past four days to self-quarantine.
Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba said people should “do the right thing”.
“Considering the incubation period of the coronavirus, we wish to implore those who will be crossing from Beitbridge to do the right thing and self-quarantine because they have been exposed to a potential superspreader,” she said.
The border, which sees an estimated 6,000 people moving through daily, down from 15,000 before Covid-19 restrictions, was identified by both countries as a “superspreader” zone due to the logjam that resulted in people spending days in queues.
By Thursday, 104 positive Covid-19 cases were detected at the border.
Travellers entering SA from Zimbabwe are screened at the foot of the New Limpopo Bridge upon producing Covid-19 test results.
“This [quarantine advice] comes after 104 people tested positive at the port of entry during the past four days. With thousands of people stuck at the port for days while waiting for their entry into the country to be processed, the department is worried the events at the border are fast becoming a superspreader,” said the department.
In a report carried by the Centre for Innovation and Technology, many people on the Zimbabwean side spent about four days at the border. Their Covid-19 certificates were valid for 48 hours so by the time they got to the SA side, results were invalid.
On Friday, border congestion had seemingly been dealt with. The Zimbabwe National Army was dispatched to help people with a smooth passage into SA.
Meanwhile, the UK on Thursday banned people travelling from or through Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Seychelles, or Mauritius since the start of 2021. These countries join SA, whose travellers were banned on December 23 subject to review on January 23. This is part of the UK’s plan to curb the country’s resurgence in Covid-19 infections.