Zimbabwe: Zim Doctors Haul Govt to Court Over Deplorable Conditions At Quarantine Centres

(File photo).
2 June 2020

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) on Monday 1 June 2020 petitioned the High Court seeking an order to compel Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo to improve the deplorable conditions at some quarantine and isolation centres located across the country, which are housing some returning residents and citizens.

In an urgent chamber application filed on Monday 1 June 2020, ZADHR represented by Andrew Makoni of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, protested that social and physical distancing is not being observed at some quarantine and isolation facilities established for the temporary confinement of and treatment of individuals or groups of individuals, who are suspected of being infected with or who may have recently been exposed to the risk of infection by or who have been confirmed as having coronavirus.

ZADHR charged that the quarantine and isolation facilities are not being disinfected while the returning residents and other persons detained at these facilities are not being subjected to regular temperature testing.

The returning residents and other persons ZADHR said, are not being subjected to testing on the 1st, 8th and 21st days of their arrivals at the quarantine and isolation facilities.

At the isolation and quarantine centres, ZADHR charged that residents and other persons detained at these facilities are being forced to share some few and dirty ablution and bathing facilities while others have no access to medication.

ZADHR said the inadequate measures at these quarantine and isolation centres are exposing returning residents and other persons detained in these facilities to the risk of contracting coronavirus with about 35 out of 96 female persons who were quarantined at a facility at Girls High School in Harare having to be transferred to Wilkins Hospital on 28 May 2020 upon allegedly testing positive for coronavirus following tests conducted on the group on 24 May 2020.

ZADHR argued that any exposure to coronavirus by any Zimbabwean translates to exposure of medical practitioners as they respond to any infected patients.

The medical practitioners charged that the health and well-being of returning residents and citizens who are on mandatory quarantine as well as social welfare workers, health workers and enforcement officers working at the quarantine and isolation centres is seriously at stake and hence the High Court should order Moyo to put adequate measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in quarantine and isolation centres.

ZADHR wants Moyo as Health and Child Care Minister to ensure that returning residents and citizens are tested on the 1st, 8th and 21st days of their quarantine and that they be housed at quarantine facilities in a manner that social and physical distancing is maintained at all times in the boarding houses, dining rooms and other common areas.

The medical practitioners want Moyo to provide segregated, sanitary and hygienic conditions with proper infection control and protection for all persons in quarantine and for him to liaise with appropriate local authorities, where the quarantine facilities are situated to ensure that they have continuous running water at all times, and functional, adequate ablution and bathing facilities.

Moyo, ZADHR said, should also ensure that occupants of the quarantine centres are regularly disinfected with approved disinfectants and ensure that the quarantine facilities are suitable for human habitation and have constant running water.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing at the High Court.

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