Zimbabwe government says a total of 149 returnees have absconded from quarantine centres and some have been apprehended and charged. All arrivals into the southern African nation are subjected to strict Covid-19 screening including a mandatory quarantine period of 21 days with testing being done on the first, eighth and 21st days.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa said manpower levels at quarantine centres have been increased in order to curb incidents of absconding.
“Going forward, persons who abscond from quarantine centres will have their details published so that communities are aware of the potential risks in their midst. Furthermore, 10 quarantine centres, one in each Province, have been identified for use by returning ex-convicts and people of a violent disposition,” she said.
The coming online of GeneXpert machines to test for Covid-19 has enabled increased testing capacity. All Provincial Hospitals can conduct PCR tests and some machines are now testing at Correctional Facilities. “We wish to advise the nation that we have now recorded positive cases in our prisons. We have three confirmed cases at Beitbridge Prison, one is an officer and the two are inmates. At Plumtree Prison, we also have two inmates who have been confirmed positive and one officer,” she said.
“In order to contain the virus, no visitors are allowed at Beitbridge and Plumtree Correctional Facilities. The inmates have been isolated within the facilities and officers are now in self-isolation at their homes. The institutions have also been disinfected.” Government is concerned about the increase of both vehicular and human traffic in Central Business Districts. Also, advises cross border drivers that they can only stop at gazetted truck stops.
“Similarly, law enforcers have reinforced their operations to encourage adherence to lockdown measures,” she added. As part of the response plan to COVID19, treasury unfroze 3 700 health posts and these posts have been filled. A request for an additional 178 health personnel has been submitted to the Health Services Board to increase staff capacity in quarantine facilities and at Ports of Entry.
Meanwhile, the southern African nation recorded 26 new cases yesterday, bringing total to 203. Of the new cases, 25 are returnees from South Africa (22) and Botswana (3) while 1 is a local transmission. However, all are in isolation.