By Nokuthaba Dlamini
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has reportedly given returning citizens in Matabeleland North the green light to use private lodges for their mandatory quarantine period amid reports of logistical challenges at designated Covid-19 quarantine centres.
So far, Phezulu Lodge in Victoria Falls is the only lodge that has been opened for returnees paying for themselves.
The lodge can accommodate 43 people.
The Matabeleland North Provincial Social Welfare officer Macnon Chirinzepi said the Lodge is currently holding an eight-year-old Victoria Falls boy.
“The boy who is at Phezulu Lodge is being paid for by her mother who is also in Victoria Falls,” confirmed Chirinzepi.
“All the Lodges and Hotels willing to open for returnees should apply and wait to be vetted as we did to this one.”
Asked about security concerns, Chirinzepi replied: “We are still going to maintain the safety and security measures thereby deploying police officers to those centres. We cannot force them to stay here if they have money to book elsewhere.”
Chirinzepi said as of Saturday, the province had received a total number of 279 returnees through Victoria Falls, Kazungula and Victoria Falls Airport Border Posts.
The returnees are from Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Cameroon and South Africa.
The current returnees’ enrolment at Mosi-Oa- Tunya High School stands at 73, while Lupane State University is at 63 and Mabhikwa High School has 83 respectively.
A total of 56 returnees who got their results have all been discharged from the centres.
The Province’s quarantine centres have a carrying capacity of 1261.
Chirinzepi said the first batch of easy money cards for the Covid-19 lockdown support for the informal sector and vendors has been received in all the districts together with the second batch for vulnerable households in Hwange and Victoria Falls urban areas.
He said the challenges were still at quarantine centres.
“We still need procurement of more breakfast items, toiletries, sanitary wear and detergents. We also need fuel for carrying out itineraries at all centres blankets and procurement of provisions for use for all the other centres in the province,” he said.
Zimbabwe has 56 confirmed coronavirus cases with 18 recoveries and 4 deaths.