By Patrick Chitumba
Seven of the 18 returnees who escaped from Mkoba Teachers’ College quarantine centre in Gweru two weeks ago, have been taken back to the centre.
The 18 allegedly escaped from the college where security was said to be lax since only one police officer and security guards are manning the main gate. Returnees have been escaping from the college by climbing a tree inside the college that has branches protruding over the wall.
It has also been established that some of the returnees are in the habit of leaving the college premises using the same route and roaming around the streets of Mkoba putting the lives and safety of residents at risk of contracting Covid-19 before returning in time for roll call.
Addressing a Zanu PF Midlands province leadership meeting in Mvuma on Saturday, the Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Larry Mavima said security in quarantine centres must be improved.
“We have managed to track down seven returning residents who escaped from Mkoba Teachers’ College quarantine two weeks ago. We hear that the whereabouts of six other escapees is now known and it’s a matter of days before they are taken back to quarantine centres,” he said.
“The Covid-19 rapid response team, the police and local leadership from the village in question will go together so that they easily identify these people.”
He said some of the returning residents who escaped are said to have given false identities, a development that is making it difficult for Government officials to trace them and bring them back to quarantine centres for their own safety and that of other people.
“We are now doing proper profiling of every person we receive so that we are able to trace and track them down when they escape from the quarantine centres,” he said.
Minister Mavima urged members of the community to report to the police people who sneak back without Covid-19 clearance letters to curb the spread of the virus.
He said to date Midlands has received about 630 returnees who have been quarantined in centres which include Gweru Polytechnic College, Dadaya Training Centre in Zvishavane, Kwekwe High School and Mkoba Teachers’ College.
“As of today, over 131 who were quarantined at Gweru Polytechnic College have all been released after they tested negative to Covid-19. Some have been released from other centres to self-quarantine at home since they are said to be stable,” he said.
Minister Mavima said of the 18 cases recorded by Friday, all but one woman who gave birth at Gweru Provincial Hospital where in self-isolation at their respective homes.
“We are happy to note that a Covid-19 positive woman gave birth to a healthy baby and they are both doing well. She is supposed to be released today or tomorrow,” he said.
Politburo Member Cde Samuel Mumbengegwi said it is unfortunate that people where not taking Covid-19 seriously as they seem to be wearing face masks for the police or soldiers or when getting into supermarkets where they are ordered by security to cover their mouth and nose.
“Our people should take this virus which has killed thousands of people around the world including our own four people. The people seem to wear the face mask for the police. When they pass a road block, they remove the mask or they put it on top of their heads or below the chin. They think they are being cool. For effective use, the mask must cover the mouth and nose and people must exercise hygiene all the time,” he said.
Cde Mumbengegwi said President Mnangagwa and his Government must be commended for the lockdown which has been attributed to low Covid-19 cases in the country.
“If it was not for our beloved returnees, I do not think we were going to have many cases. President Mnangagwa made sure he protected is by swiftly declaring a national disaster and announcing the lockdown,” he said.
Zanu PF Midlands Provincial chairperson Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube called on the provincial party leadership to take the gospel of the fight against the spread of Covid-19 to districts and wards.
“Present is the party leadership from all over the province and you are taking back to the people the message of following the rules and regulations of the lockdown and following strict hygiene.
“We want to win the war against Covid-19 so that we have a healthy population at the end of the day,” he said. The Herald