Police authorities have said that a total of 99 Zimbabwean returnees who were being quarantined at various Covid19 centres across the country have escaped from their respective placements, plunging the country’s fight to contain the deadly pandemic into jeopardy.
Procedurally, all returning residents are subjected to a 21-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival and, to determine their Covid19 statuses, the returnees undergo periodic testing on Days One, Eight and 21.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told state media that the country has in the past two weeks received around 4 000 returnees from mainly it’s Sadc neighbors Botswana and South Africa with 99 of them having escaped from the quarantine facilities.
Assistant Commissioner Nyathi also revealed that some of the escaping returnees have since been apprehended but could not be drawn into availing figures of the arrests made thus far.
“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,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.
He also bemoaned reports of rising cases of thefts that have dogged the quarantine centres accomodating the returnees in recent weeks.
The revelations come hard on the heels of pronouncements by Government spokesperson Ndavaningi ‘Nick’ Mangwana that three returnees from South Africa absconded from Mary Mount Teachers’ College Quarantine Centre in Mutare and police efforts to trace them to their given addresses failed to bear fruit.
Since the dawn of the 21st century when the country’s economic fortunes took a nosedive, there was an exodus of millions of Zimbabweans who left the country in search of greener pastures in foreign countries, particularly neighbouring Sadc nations South Africa and Botswana.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews