Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa will be closed to the public between 10PM and 6AM, officials said on Sunday.
The decision follows new Covid-19 restrictions imposed by South Africa last week, including a curfew between 11PM and 4AM.
The border at Beitbridge re-opened to the public on December 1 for the first time since the end of March when both countries went into lockdown.
Nqobile Ncube, the assistant regional immigration officer in charge of Beitbridge, explained: “Post-December 1, our curfew times were set between 10PM and 6AM. Yes, from December 1 we were not implementing that because the border was operating 24 hours daily, but then South Africa implemented their curfew.
“It’s effectively because of the implementation of the South African curfew that we also now suddenly have got to employ that curfew aspect because there is no way we can clear traffic and have it stuck in no-man’s-land.”
He said the curfew restrictions would not affect cargo and other essential service providers who are exempt.
The new restrictions come as tens of thousands of Zimbabweans living in South Africa return home for the Christmas holidays.
Ncube said human traffic at the border began surging on Friday as many companies in South Africa closed for the holidays. Many of those entering South Africa were school children travelling to Africa’s richest economy to be with their parents.