May 8, 2020

New quarantine centre for Zimbabweans returning from South Africa

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Thupeyo Muleya

The Government has started working on logistics to open another quarantine and isolation centre at Mzingwane High School in Matabeleland South to accommodate more Zimbabweans returning from South Africa.

Currently, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) hotel is being used for that purpose at Beitbridge Border Post. The place can only accommodate 280 people on quarantine and another 70 on isolation.

It is understood that the first batch of those coming from South Africa are funding their repatriation, with the Zimbabwe Embassy providing logistics, while the Government is also working on a package to assist those without resources.

The Provincial Covid-19 Task Force settled for another centre to accommodate the ever-increasing number of Zimbabweans who started arriving in the country officially on Thursday morning.

According to the Provincial Social Services officer, Mr Criswell Nyakudya they have agreed to keep 150 people in Beitbridge, being the standard figure for an ideal quarantine centre.

“The provincial task force is already seized with the logistics of moving people to the Esigodini quarantine centre.

“The recommended number of people for our quarantine centres should remain at 150 people and below,” said Mr Nyakudya.

He said so far they have received 477 Zimbabweans from South Africa, adding that most of them were being moved to various provincial centres countrywide.

These will be housed mainly in Public Service and District Development Fund infrastructure.

The official said the Government had allocated them enough resources to feed those already in quarantine centres and those arriving from Botswana and South Africa.

“We received 437 people from South African provinces in nine buses between Thursday and Friday via Beitbridge Border Post,” said Mr Nyakudya.

“Twenty-five others were picked by security along the border, while 15 repatriated themselves through the port of entry.

“Upon arrival, they are being screened by security, then the Ministry of Health and Child Care and we then register and feed them after which we group them according to their final destination and transport them in Zupco buses which are already in Beitbridge”.

Mr Nyakudya said on Thursday they dispatched five buses to Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, and Gweru with people who will be quarantined at various centres.

He said more buses were being dispatched as and when the returnees arrived.

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