THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) owned hotel in Beitbridge, Matabeleland South, has been turned into a coronavirus isolation centre to help combat an outbreak and spread of the deadly pandemic.
By Staff Reporter
Beitbridge, a coronavirus hotspot owing to its close proximity to neighbouring South Africa, where there are more than 1 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 did not have an isolation centre for suspected cases.
The Beitbridge Border Post is the busiest port of entry into the country, posing a health risk at a time when countries have imposed a raft of measures to total lockdowns to combat the disease.
NSSA’s acting general manager, Arthur Manase, said it was befitting for the state pension fund to step in to complement the government’s efforts by providing its 139-bed Beitbridge hotel as a Covid-19 isolation centre.
Furthermore, Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo, also owned by NSSA, will also be used to cater for patients undergoing treatment for COVID-19.
Bulawayo has only one isolation centre, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital, which has been deemed unprepared and inadequate to cater for a COVID-19 outbreak.
“Through the banner, ‘NSSA for Good’, we have availed the two facilities to the government as our humble contribution towards this national cause,” Manase said.
Ekusileni, a brainchild of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, has been lying derelict since 2004 after it was shut down shortly after opening its doors.
It was closed after it was discovered that equipment worth millions of dollars acquired by the Zimbabwean Health Care Trust (ZHCT), who rented the facility from NSSA, was obsolete.
Previous efforts to re-open the hospital have been unsuccessful.
The Beitbridge hotel was formerly leased by the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) who shut it down in 2016 following years of successive losses.
So far, eight cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Zimbabwe, with one fatality.
The Health ministry has reported that the seven active cases are of patients with mild COVID-19.