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Zambia reopens border with Tanzania to cargo after Covid-19 closure

Zambia reopened its Nakonde border with Tanzania on Friday for cargo after a five-day closure of the key transit point for copper and cobalt exports and fuel imports, but people were still not allowed to cross, a provincial minister told Reuters.

President Edgar Lungu had shut the border on Sunday after the town of Nakonde recorded 76 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, the highest number registered by Africa’s No. 2 copper producer in a day.

“Trucks from both sides have been moving, starting with those destined for Tanzania,” said Malozo Sichone, the minister of Zambia’s Muchinga province, in response to a request for comment.

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He added citizens were, however, still barred from crossing the border.

Sichone had told Reuters on Wednesday that talks were ongoing with Tanzania and an agreement could be reached soon.

A mining industry executive said the border had opened for copper exports from noon (1000 GMT) on Friday. A logistics official said: “We have trucks that have already crossed.”

The minister previously said priority would be given to trucks bringing essential goods such as fuel, medical supplies, and food into Zambia.

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