By Leonard Ncube
Health officials have been urged to speed up Covid-19 testing of returnees so they can be discharged to avoid crowding at quarantine centres.
This comes as the quarantine centre at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School in Victoria Falls now has 118 returnees against its capacity of 100 people.
On Saturday the Covid-19 Taskforce transferred 34 returnees from the centre to an alternative facility at Lupane State University to ease congestion.
The 34 are awaiting official release as they have completed their 21 days mandatory quarantine and will be at LSU pending Covid-19 test results for samples taken last week.
Matabeleland North Provincial Taskforce chairperson, who is also Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the taskforce is ready to discharge those that would have tested negative.
“The lab in Bulawayo had problems but we understand they have fixed it. What we don’t want is to crowd people at the quarantine centre. We want to maintain the carrying capacity by discharging those that would have completed their stay and tested negative. We hope the process is speeded up, “ said Minister Moyo.
Matabeleland North Provincial Social Welfare officer Mr Macnon Chirinzepi said the Mosi-oa-Tunya centre received 53 returnees between Friday and yesterday morning.
The returnees are from Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Cameroon and South Africa.
“The cumulative total of returnees that have been received since the inception of the centre now stands at 186, being 96 males and 90 females. On May 8, 2020 we transferred 34 returnees being 24 males and 10 females to Lupane State University in order to maintain our carrying capacity of 100 returnees at the centre.
“Those transferred are awaiting their Covid 19 test results and will be discharged from the university as soon as their results are out. The current enrolment at Mosi-oa-Tunya stands at 118 being 65 females and 53 males, “ said Mr Chirinzepi.
Returnees are tested using Rapid Diagnostic Test kits before their samples are sent to Bulawayo for clinical polymerase chain reaction (PCR) conformation.
There are also three men who were caught in Tsholotsho after they illegally entered the country from South Africa by-passing the mandatory Covid-19 testing and have been sent to LSU quarantine centre.
The province received 76 returnees from South Africa through the Beitbridge border and they have been sent to their respective districts where they will be quarantined at district centres. The Chronicle