AT least 65 Zimbabweans who returned home from the United Kingdom yesterday refused to be quarantined in students’ hostels at Belvedere Teachers’ College, demanding hotel accommodation which government said it could not afford.
By Everson Mushava
Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana confirmed the development.
“We received 65 Zimbabweans from the UK,” Mangwana tweeted.
“Available place of quarantine is Belvedere Teachers’ College. They are refusing this accommodation demanding hotels. Government can’t afford. Why come from COVID-19 hotspot during a lockdown and demand posh facilities at stretched public cost?”
Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi also confirmed the development, but said government would be left with no choice than “use the power that it has to enforce the quarantine.”
“Quarantine measures are not by choice, they are enforced,” Mutodi said.
“The idea with quarantine is that we use the next available resources. At the moment, hotels are closed. All hotels are closed. There is no way it can be done at hotels. Quarantine is done at quarantine centres, which offer basic facilities.
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“They are trying to demand VIP treatment. It is not possible at the moment. They are coming from an epicentre and there is even a possibility that 90% of them are infected.”
All returning residents are being compulsorily quarantined for 14 days before being released to their families.
Last week, Zimbabwe received 32 of its nationals from various countries. They are quarantined at ZIPAM in Darwendale and it has emerged one of them has tested positive to the virulent virus that has so far claimed over 168 000 people and infected about 2,5 million globally.
Zimbabwe, which has 25 recorded cases, including three deaths, on Sunday extended its 21-day national lockdown by a further 14 days to try to contain the spread of the virus. The country plans to test 40 0 00 people by the end of this month, according to government officials.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, several southern African countries are deporting hundreds of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants, further piling pressure on the country’s troubled health system and deteriorating economy.
So far Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Namibia have deported hundreds of Zimbabweans with Botswana alone deporting over 500 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe in the past fortnight.
There are indications that more could be deported from Botswana that has locked itself up for the next six months.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Judith Ncube disclosed that the country’s second biggest city was already overwhelmed and no longer has enough resources to look after the deportees for at least 14 days.