DURBAN – Authorities in Zimbabwe have started publicly naming people who have escaped from quarantine centres and urging the public to report them to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The published list has 48 people, some of whom gave fake addresses. In total 150 people have escaped from quarantine centres. Only 23 have so far been apprehended and fined R150.
Zimbabwe has seen a rise in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in recent days, with most recorded at quarantine centres. More than 3,700 people are being kept in the quarantine centres. It is alleged that dozens are fleeing the confinement complaining of filthy, unhygienic conditions and charging infections are spread at the quarantine areas.
Information Ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana said: “Absconding from a Quarantine Centre is breaking the law. We have a public health disaster on our hands and we will use the national disaster provisions to protect the public. It means society becomes aware that there are high risk people in their midst and work with the authorities to ensure they are apprehended.”
But according to media reports doctors and other health professionals say that the conditions at the centres are deplorable. They also warn that the lack of social distancing and adequate screening and testing could result in people becoming infected with the coronavirus at the centres.
A judge last week ordered the government to improve conditions at the quarantine centres after a doctors group pressed a lawsuit in which it said the conditions are putting “seriously at stake” the lives of people held there, health professionals and security agents enforcing the isolation.
According to the latest figures Zimbabwe has 332 confirmed cases and most of the new cases have been reported at the quarantine centres. Some communities have been reporting such people to authorities in a bid to protect themselves. Those who are turned in to authorities are returned to the quarantine centres.
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