Govt abandons quarantining centres

February 11, 2021

The Covid-19 national taskforce has abandoned designated quarantining of returnees from foreign hot spots.

Brenna Matendere

Agnes Mahomva, the taskforce coordinator, confirmed the development in an interview with Grazers News,

The decision is backed at law by Statutory Instrument (SI) 282 of 2020, which Vice President Constantino Chiwenga—who doubles as Health minister—issued on November 30 2020, Mahomva said.   

The subsidiary law provides that those entering Zimbabwean dry ports must produce certified evidence that they are free from Covid-19 and the certificates must have been issued within 48 hours.

Travellers displaying corona-virus related symptoms are not allowed to enter the country.

Mahomva said: “All returning residents must bring PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) COVID-19 free certificates and quarantine at home.”

When the virus was first detected in Zimbabwe in March 2020, government set up mandatory quarantine centres across the country to restrict the movement of returnees over 21 days while they were being monitored.

By June 2020, Zimbabwe had 44 quarantine centres which accommodated 2,136 returnees. The centres were located in major towns and close to ports of entry.

But because of poor management and monitoring of the centres as the government struggled to raise sufficient resources, the centres were blamed for spreading Covid-19.

“They (COVID-19 positive patients) self-isolate at home if they have no signs and symptoms or if they have mild signs and symptoms,” she said.

Zimbabwe has over 4,000 active Covid-19 cases against a cumulative caseload of around 35,000 and over 1,300 deaths.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 that forced a stricter lockdown in early January amid concerns of a new and highly infectious strain suspected to have originated in South Africa.

Several high profile government officials, among them cabinet ministers, have succumbed to Covid 19 of late.  

The first wave was experienced in Zimbabwe in March 2020 and the lockdown that was subsequently decreed gradually eased out until the second wave emerged in early 2021.

*Grazers News is the Information for Development Trust (IDT) news blog

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