Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has revealed Government plans to upgrade security at designated Covid19 isolation centres as Zimbabwe has so far recorded over 118 returnees who have escaped from their respective placements of quarantining.
The country has a total of 56 isolation centers across provinces.
“It has been the Government’s position that security be heightened so that we reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Government is even working on introducing drones so that we increase security measures in border areas,” Minister Mutsvangwa told state media last night.
It is understood that additional police officers and other security agencies are set to be dispatched to quarantine centres, esspecially those based in border towns, where high numbers of escaping returnees were recorded.
Minister Mutsvangwa also said that the Government has been working on measures to ensure that test results for returnees are released in time, adding that the Ministry of Health and Child Care will soon introduce guidelines on how quarantine centres will be managed and protected.
State media reported that by yesterday, a total of 23 escaping returnees had been arrested.
“We have not received the additional forces yet, but we are beefing up on security,” said Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare chief director Clifford Matorera yesterday.
“We will be having additional police at other centres and working closely with other ministries to ensure minimal escapes from the centres,” he said.
The majority of the returnees, who include wanted convicts, are drawn from Zimbabwe’s neighbors South Africa and Botswana. During the early 2000s when the country’s economic fortunes took a dramatic nosedive, millions of Zimbabweans deserted the country in search of greener pastures.
Recent statistics indicated that ‘between two and three million Zimbabweans are living and working in South Africa’. The majority of regional countries have introduced national lockdowns as a way of mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Zimbabwe has been on a lockdown, which has since been revised to Level 2, since March 30.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews