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Chaos as 99 returnees escape from quarantine centres

A TOTAL of 99 returnees from South Africa and Botswana have escaped from quarantine facilities mainly in Masvingo and Matebeleland South province, raising fears they could jeopardise Government’s decent job so far to control the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

The latest escape incidents happened in Mutare, where Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana, yesterday said on his official Twitter handle that three returnees from South Africa absconded from Mary Mount Teachers’ College Quarantine Centre.

Mangwana said and when police traced them at their given home addresses, they could not locate them.

Police national spokesperson, Paul Nyathi said as of yesterday, 99 returnees had escaped from different quarantine centres across the country.

“I can confirm that 99 returnees have escaped from various quarantine centres across the country. However, some of them have been arrested. As police we have stepped up our patrols to ensure that returnees do not escape.

“We are working with other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health and Child Care to ensure compliance. We also urge returnees to comply with the quarantine regulations,” he said.

Zimbabwe has received close to 4 000 returnees mostly from South Africa and Botswana over the past few weeks. Nyathi, however, said some of those that escaped have since been arrested although he did not avail the numbers.

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“There are some people who had started stealing from fellow inmates in quarantine,” he added.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the number of positive Covid-19 cases the country has recorded over the past few weeks have been attributed to retuning citizens mostly from Botswana and South Africa.

South Africa has been recording a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and as of yesterday the country had more than 20 000 cases. The country is home to thousands of Zimbabweans.

As at 23 May 2020, Zimbabwe had 56 confirmed cases, including 23 recoveries and four (4) deaths.

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