ZIMBABWE has received 65 of its nationals who were in the UK, but they are refusing to be quarantined at the Belvedere Teachers’ College in Harare, demanding proper hotel facilities.
The UK is one of the coronavirus hotspots in Europe, with over 16,500 having died to date while over 124,000 are infected.
Writing on social media, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Nick Mangwana complained that it was unfair for citizens to leave a COVID-19 hotspot abroad, come back home and demand hotel facilities yet the Government is struggling with funding.
“We received 65 Zimbabweans from the UK. Available place of quarantine is Belvedere Teachers College. They are refusing this accommodation demanding hotels. Government can’t afford.
“Why come from a Covid-19 hotspot during a lockdown and demand posh facilities at stretched public cost?” he said.
Zimbabwean journalist Harugume Rozabelle Mutasa, who works for Al Jazeera English, urged Government to enforce tight controls on returnees as any lax in the monitoring process could prove futile to the country’s efforts to tame the novel coronavirus.
“Quarantine is mandatory in most countries worldwide. Don’t risk maybe infecting other Zimbabweans who weren’t abroad because you want special treatment as diaspora or as returnees,” Mutasa said.
Zimbabwe has placed more than 500 of its citizens returning from the U.K., South Africa and Botswana under a mandatory 21-day quarantine at the government’s cost.
Those under quarantine in Harare include Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Sudan Emmanuel Gumbo, who arrived via Ethiopian Airlines on Monday last week together with 29 Zimbabweans returning from the U.K.
“Dr. Gumbo is back in Harare on official business but has to be quarantined as per protocol.
“We do not know the status of those who are coming in. Some have letters saying they were screened before, but we are not taking chances,” Mangwana advised days ago.
According to Mangwana, 72 returnees who arrived at Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport on Monday are being housed at the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management in the capital.
Meanwhile, United College in Bulawayo is housing 104 women. Bulawayo Polytechnic is housing 204 men and the border town of Plumtree High has 208 people.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa initially declared a 21-day lockdown that began on March 30 to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. One of the measures is the mandatory 21-day quarantine of every returning Zimbabwean at various centers across the country.
However, on Sunday, the President announced an immediate two week extension of the lockdown, saying the country was yet to meet World Health Organization requirements for the lifting of coronavirus emergency measures.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded 25 confirmed coronavirus cases, including three deaths and two recoveries.
Government plans to test 40,000 people by the end of this month.
– Zimbabwe Voice