Lab backlogs delay release of quarantined deportees

LABORATORIES tasked to conduct COVID-19 diagnostic tests have reportedly not released results for Botswana deportees quarantined at United College of Education (UCE) and Bulawayo Polytechnic College due to a backlog at the facilities, a government official has said.


The initial batch of 193 deportees was released from quarantine on April 22 after they all tested negative to COVID-19.

The remaining batch of 263 deportees was expected to be released yesterday morning, but failed to leave the quarantine centre as planned because they were still awaiting results.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs minister Judith Ncube said the backlog at the testing laboratories could have been the reason why they were not released,.

“All I know is that they were meant to leave quarantine today (yesterday), but I am not really sure what might have led to them not departing as planned. I have been very busy lately and all l know was they should have left,” Ncube said.

“I don’t know if there are any other challenges, but I am thinking that there may have been a backlog with the machines at the testing labs which might have led to their departure being delayed like that. But honestly we had arranged for them to be leaving today.”

Ncube said when she contacted the laboratory to find out what might have been the problem, she was told that the results were ready yesterday.

“When I phoned the provincial medical director to find out about any progress concerning that, I was told that the results are now out,” she said.

Bulawayo Polytechnic College and UCE hold a total of 456 deportees from Botswana.
The quarantine days of the deportees lapsed during the first lockdown extension which ended on Sunday, meaning they have already overstayed at the quarantine centres.

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