SEVENTY-SIX prisoners and 25 correctional officers at Grey Prisons in Bulawayo have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, Southern Eye has learnt.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Judith Ncube said she was advised yesterday that Grey Prison had recorded some COVID-19 cases, adding that she had verified with Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officials and they were at loss over the development.
“I have just verified with them, they are also at loss,” Ncube said.
“I will be having a meeting with relevant offices tomorrow (today).”
She, however, could not be drawn into revealing the number of cases recorded. But sources told Southern Eye that 76 inmates and 25 correctional officers tested positive for COVID-19.
ZPCS spokesperson Superintendent Meya Khanyezi said she was still gathering the statistics and would call back before the end of the day, but had not done so at the time of going to print.
The development came at a time when Bulawayo has experienced a leap in the number of COVID-19 cases, surpassing all other provinces.
According to the Health ministry, as of Sunday the city topped the list of COVID-19 cases with 483, followed by Harare (465), Matabeleland South (210), Midlands (145), Mashonaland East (92), Masvingo (67), Mashonaland West (61), Manicaland (43), Matabeleland North (31) and Mashonaland Central (14). The total cases were 1 611, with 472 recoveries and 25 deaths.
Sources privy to the goings-on said prison inmates were not getting face masks and sanitisers and were exposed to severe cold this winter in the absence of adequate bedding and warm clothing.
Meanwhile, government has shut down Zvishavane District Hospital after 25 health workers at the institution tested positive to COVID-19.
Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavima, who is the provincial COVID-19 taskforce chairperson, said health authorities were now tracing contacts of the 29 health workers most of them nurses.
“On the 13th of July 2020, Zvishavane district hospital received eight PCR positive results of which two were for health care workers. These results prompted the testing of other healthcare workers and other probable contacts within the hospital on the same day. The hospital received the results today 19 July 2020 and 25 out of 28 health care workers tested positive,” he said.
Mavima said three officials from the district registrar office who were working at the hospital also tested positive.