More returnees test positive for Covid-19

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Zimbabwe’s coronavirus cases continue to gallop away with 17 more returnees testing positive on Thursday, ringing the total number of cases to 149.

By Phyllis Mbanje

This follows Wednesday’s shocker of 76 positive cases within 24 hours.

All except one were returnees from Botswana , South Africa and the U.K.

The Health ministry, in a statement on Thursday night, said the 17 new cases were from among locals under quarantine.

“These are all returnees from Mozambique registering nine, South Africa seven and the United Kingdom one.

“They are all in quarantine centers. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 149,” said the ministry.

There are huge concerns over the returnees being the larger source of infection compared to local transmissions, with many people taking to various social media platforms to express their fears.

Independent legislator, Temba Mliswa said if the COVID-19 quarantine centres are not serving the intended purpose there was no need to continue wasting taxpayers‘ money.

“Maybe self isolation as recommended in other countries would be a more sustainable solution?

“We have too many cases of below par conditions and people running away from these centres.

“At this rate, the train will fall off its tracks and we will lose control.”

Mliswa called for a more serious approach.

“Adherence to set COVID-19 prevention guidelines is key,” he said.

Many called on the government to revisit the conditions and routines at the centres following reports that some were in a terrible shape.

It has also been reported that there are inadequate testing kits and the returnees were now afraid of contracting the disease while waiting to be tested.

Initially they were supposed to be tested on the first day one and then the eighth day before being released to finish off the 21 day quarantine at their homes.

However President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the returnees must not expect 5 star hotels and treatment but should bear with authorities and stay put in their respective shelters.

There have been many reports of returnees running away from the centres raising fears of spreading the disease within communities.

The porous borders are also a great threat with reports of many border jumpers sneaking into the country to avoid being quarantined.