A Qantas airplane takes off from Sydney Airport, in Sydney, Australia, March 18, 2020. Virgin Australia airline announced Wednesday it would temporarily suspend all international flights as well as 50 percent of domestic services, in another blow to the industry by COVID-19. Australia's national carrier Qantas on Tuesday cancelled 90 percent of its international flights as well as 60 percent of its domestic capacity. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
A Qantas airplane takes off from Sydney Airport, in Sydney, Australia, March 18, 2020. Virgin Australia airline announced Wednesday it would temporarily suspend all international flights as well as 50 percent of domestic services, in another blow to the industry by COVID-19. Australia's national carrier Qantas on Tuesday cancelled 90 percent of its international flights as well as 60 percent of its domestic capacity. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Zimbabwe will resume domestic flights on Thursday and international flights on Oct. 1 as the government steps up efforts to revive tourism, one of the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-cabinet media briefing on Tuesday that all travelers will be required to have COVID-19 clearance certificates issued by a recognized facility within 48 hours from the date of departure in line with the World Health Organization guidelines, among other health and safety regulations.

“Standard operating procedures have been put in place for the reopening of international and some domestic airports. The National Guidelines for Aviation Safety and Security have been developed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe to ensure the safety of travelers and airport staff,” Mutsvangwa said.

Having closed its airports and other ports of entry in March due to the pandemic, the government last week fully re-opened the tourism sector after five months of closure.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said the decision was meant to forestall further job cuts and revenue losses in one of the important sectors of the economy.

The government said the tourism sector is expected to contract by 7.4 percent in 2020 due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, Zimbabwe has recorded 7,388 COVID-19 cases, 5,477 recoveries and 218 deaths.

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