Rural communities must be vigilant and avoid harbouring people escaping from quarantine centres, leading to a surge in Covid-19 cases, the country's health ambassador, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, has said.
Speaking candidly during an interactive meeting with the elderly and vulnerable groups here yesterday, the First Lady said communities can play a big role in making the quarantine system work.
"We have a challenge of people who are escaping from quarantine centres. These are not prisons and these people are not being taken as prisoners. This is a way of making sure they do not spread this disease.
"We hear our people are escaping from the isolation centres. You should ask them where they would have been quarantined because they are given papers with this information.
"Records are also there and please do not be fooled by those who would have escaped or skipped the quarantine process. Engage health officials because records will show whether or not one would have escaped," she said.
She said families should consult health officers whenever they are visited by a returnee to avoid harbouring people who may end up spreading the virus across communities.
"This is a valuable warning because look at how the cases are rising. Most of these cases we have are imported just like the disease came from outside. The President said whoever is willing must come back home and we cannot prevent our children from coming back home. We then saw busloads of our citizens coming back home from other countries. We now need to follow the law that was set so that we do not spread this deadly virus.
"We should be aware because we do not know where exactly these cases are coming from, but the number of those affected is shooting up.
Let us not use our eyes to certify our people fit. We must rely on the papers from health officials."
Concerns raised by the First Lady, come at a time when the country has experienced an unprecedented surge in positive cases in the last few days.
Covid-19 is a reality in Zimbabwe where it has claimed four lives and the country is under lockdown to prevent the spread of the disease.
Over 150 people have escaped from quarantine centres in Zimbabwe at a time when Government is strengthening security at such places.
Twenty-three people have since been arrested, hence the First Lady's advice to rural communities to be watchful.
Amai Mnangagwa urged the elderly to report all suspected escapees.
She donated an assortment of foodstuffs, blankets and home-made facemasks to the elderly and further donated disinfectants and sanitisers to local clinics.
Her teams from Angel of Hope Foundation were in other parts of the province around Masvingo rural, Gutu, Bikita, Chiredzi, Chivi and Zaka teaching communities about coronavirus and distributing food and other items donated by the First Lady.
Amai Mnangagwa also came face-to-face with the knowledge gaps that still exist in rural communities in terms of Covid-19.
When asked how best she can wash her hands, Mbuya Elisy Mudhuva said as long as the water was from a borehole and in a dish, it was safe.
However, the First Lady was quick to educate her about the need for one to use running water.
Mbuya Mudhuva thanked the First Lady for the correction saying all along she had been washing hands together with all her grandchildren using water filled in a dish.
"I have come for you ana mbuya nana sekuru. I have come to talk to you because you are the fountain of knowledge and what we do not know we ask you. Children will also grasp and teach others.
"We want to interact and share knowledge and ideas. Ndauya kuti ndikudzidzisei zvandinoziva imiwo muchindiudzawo zvamunoziva," the First Lady said.
Sekuru Kutirai Murara was full of praises for the First Lady and the work she is doing in easing the plight of rural communities.
"What the First Lady is doing is commendable. She is leaving no stone unturned in making sure everyone has this important information on Covid-19. She means well for the nation and may the good Lord bless her," he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Mbuya Sophia Nhatava.
"She is a selfless woman who has the welfare of the elderly and the poor at heart. We need such people for the nation to go further. Amai is a great woman and we thank her for all she has done and still doing for all citizens," she said.
The mother of the nation's programmes are non-partisan and every citizen benefits.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira could not hide his excitement and praised the First Lady for her good work.
"I thank the First Lady for her good works. She is taking knowledge from the top and bringing it down to the old people especially those in the rural communities.
"She is coming to the grassroots where she is teaching people who will also spread the message and information to others in their communities as ambassadors," he said.
Mwenezi West MP, Priscilla Moyo, thanked the First Lady for paying the district a visit.
"Some of us here in Mwenezi always felt left behind with no one coming to our rescue, but the First Lady has spared time for us. She has great love for the people and we urge her to remain like that and even do more.
"She is not a selective mother, but opens her heart to everyone. We are grateful as a nation to have a loving and caring mother. We are all learning from her," she said.