By Nokuthaba Dlamini
Quarantine centres in Matabeleland North are faced with a critical shortage of blankets and food at a time when the number of returnees is on the increase.
The province has so far recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases and one of the patients, has since recovered.
Provincial Social Welfare Officer Mcnon Chirinzepi said as of May 30, all the three quarantine centres, Mosi Oa Tunya High School, Lupane State University and Mabhikwa High School had over 50% occupancy, leading to a strain in providing adequate blankets and food.
“More blankets are needed to give returnees at least two blankets each to keep them warm as winter has started,” he said.
“On top of that, we are also in need of more breakfast, lunch and dinner provisions for all centres especially at Mabhikwa High School where they hardly receive bread for breakfast. We have had to end up giving them fat cooks or rice in the morning and we hope such challenges will be addressed very soon.”
He added that delay in releasing COVID-19 test results was causing the returnees to become impatient and volatile.
Mosi Oa Tunya Quarantine Centre has discharged 62 returnees who tested negative for COVID-19.
It is currently holding 57 returnees, six of them being minor children.
The returnees are from Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Cameroon and South Africa.
As of Saturday, a total of 112 returnees entered through the Kazungula Border Post while a total of 199 returnees entered through Victoria Falls Border post all adding up to a total of 311 since it’s inception, while the other three returnees from Cameroon flew directly to the Victoria Falls Airport.
Phezulu Lodge, another quarantine centre in Victoria Falls for returnees paying for their accommodation is currently accommodating two white males.
Each returnee pays US$85 per day.
As of yesterday, Chirinzepi said Lupane State University did not receive returnees and there were no discharges.
The capacity of the centre is 88 and the current enrolment is 53 returnees being 39 males and 14 females.
The centre since its inception has received 156 returnees being 84 returnees from South Africa, 11 from Botswana and 61 having been transferred from Mosi Oa Tunya Quarantine Centre.
Mabhikwa High School quarantine centre also did not receive any returnees.
At the centre, 23 returnees received their COVID-19 results yesterday and have been discharged.
The current enrolment stands at 41.
Chirinzepi said five returnees absconded on Saturday evening from Mabhikwa, bringing the cumulative total of those who absconded to 26 this week and they are still being searched for by the police.