Boy (8) quarantined in hotel room after returning home alone from Zambia


AN eight-year-old boy who returned into the country unaccompanied through Victoria Falls border last week has been quarantined in a hotel room.

The boy entered the country unaccompanied on Friday from Livingstone in Zambia and could not join his mother who lives in Victoria Falls, in line with Covid-19 regulations that every returning citizen should be isolated for 21 days as part of preventive measures against the pandemic.

He is one of the two people who are quarantined at Phezulu Lodge, a new facility identified by the Matabeleland North Covid-19 taskforce to cater for returning citizens who opt not to be accommodated at the conventional centre at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School where the majority are housed.

At Phezulu lodge, the boy’s rentals are being paid for by his mother. The other returnee is an adult male also paying for himself.

Matabeleland North provincial Social Welfare officer Mr Macnon Chirinzepi said the boy is safe.

“Phezulu Lodge has been opened for returnees paying for themselves. The capacity of the centre is 43. The (rent for) unaccompanied eight-year-old boy is being paid for by his mother who is in Victoria Falls,” said Mr Chirinzepi.

“He came back on his own from Zambia where he was in Livingstone with other family members. It’s unfortunate that his mother cannot join him at the lodge but he is safe and well taken care of.”

The second returnee being housed at the lodge was transferred from Mosi-oa-Tunya after he opted to stay at a paid for quarantine centre.

Phezulu Lodge is a 21-room facility and rooms range from US$90 to US$150 per day.

A total of 17 children below the age of 16 have returned into the country through Kazungula and Victoria Falls border points in the company of their parents or guardians and have been quarantined together with them at Mosi-oa-Tunya.

The other quarantine centres at Lupane State University and Mabhikwa High School in Lupane have also received minors accompanied by their guardians.

A total of 278 returnees, comprising of 143 and 135 females have been received at Mosi-oa-Tunya since opening of the facility early last month.

The current enrolment is 73 being, six of them being children below 16 and accompanied by their guardians.

The facility has transferred more than 100 returnees since last week to ease congestion after it had exceeded its capacity of 100 people.

Fifty-six have been released to their communities after testing negative for Covid-19.

The returnees are from Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Cameroon and South Africa.

LSU currently has an enrolment of 63 and has recorded a cumulative total of 137 returnees from Beitbridge and Plumtree borders since opening early this month.

Mabhikwa High School has 83 returnees, five of them children.

— Chronicle

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