Zimbabwe: 'Monitor Returnees From SA'

30 March 2020

The government has recommended the monitoring of more than 13 000 Zimbabwean nationals who entered the country through Beitbridge Border Post after South Africa entered a three-week lockdown on Friday last week.

Thousands of Zimbabweans came back home through Beitbridge Border Post after South Africa announced its three-week lockdown, as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases continued to rise in that country.

Addressing the media while updating the Harare provincial task-force on Covid-19, which includes Harare City Council, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the district administrators, Minister of Health and Child Care Obadiah Moyo, who is also a member of the inter-ministerial task-force, confirmed the state of affairs on returning Zimbabwean nationals from South Africa.

To date, Zimbabwe has recorded seven confirmed cases of Covid-19 and one death.

Minister Moyo said the country had witnessed an influx of people passing through Beitbridge Border Post in the past week.

"We were advised initially that there was a group of 550 nationals who came from South Africa through Beitbridge border and recommended that the group be put under self-quarantine at controllable venues," he said.

"The second group had 4 000 people who were coming from South Africa, then followed by another group of 9 000 who also came through Beitbridge Border Post."

Minister Moyo emphasised that those people should exercise self-quarantine.

"I want to emphasise that we would like those people to really exercise absolute self-quarantine," he said.

"We have advised the responsible authorities to ensure that they are monitored. They must self-quarantine.

"I want to re-emphasise that they have to practise self-quarantine. The relevant authorities will come and monitor them."

On measures put in place to monitor their compliance, Minister Moyo said the Department of Immigration had their names and destinations, which would be used in tracking them down.

"We want to make sure that they are not the ones who will cause problems for us during the current lockdown," he said.

"The people in question must remain at their residences and not move away from those addresses.

"They must completely follow the self-quarantine regulations.

"The authorities have been advised to check on the individuals. We do not want them to spread the disease. They are under self-isolation and must respect that position."

If any of these people feel sick, Minister Moyo said, they should quickly phone their health care practitioners.

"Health care workers are aware of the nationals who entered the country from South Africa, but are overwhelmed naturally, that is why we are now appealing to those people to be disciplined," he said.

Minister Moyo said his ministry, working closely with local authorities, had established Covid-19 Rapid Response Teams.

All the 1 640 health facilities in the country, Minister Moyo said, had been sensitised on providing supportive management for Covid-19 disease.

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