By Andile Tshuma
A Bulawayo family barred a member from coming home after he had escaped from a local quarantine centre.
The family member, whose identity is being withheld by police, surrendered himself after life on the street became unbearable.
He had absconded from the Bulawayo Polytechnic quarantine centre and found his way to the family home in Mzilikazi suburb home under the cover of darkness.
His family told him he was welcome only after he had finished his days in quarantine and was certified Covid-19 free.
The family members allegedly told him that they could not risk being infected with Covid-19, adding that there was also an elderly person who was of ill-health at home who was more vulnerable should she be infected with the virus.
The family alerted the police that he had left.
The escapee spent five days on the streets and when life became unbearable, he ended up going back to surrender himself to social welfare officers and police at Bulawayo Polytechnic quarantine centre and he was arrested.
He is among 11 other returnees who escaped from quarantine centres in Bulawayo recently.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, confirming the development yesterday, said after he was barred from home, the escapee lived on the streets for five days and finally decided to go back for quarantine.
“We have a case of an escapee from a quarantine centre in Bulawayo. He escaped from the Bulawayo Polyethnic quarantine centre. He was refused entry home by his family and was arrested days later by the police and taken to court after he had presented himself back at the quarantine centre,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.
“We would like to commend the actions of the family for putting public health first and not allowing him to join the family without finishing his days on quarantine. If all of us act in such a manner, then the efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 will yield more results.”
He urged people to love and care for one another by ensuring that they do not expose each other, especially community members more vulnerable to the virus such as the elderly and the sick, by obeying all Covid-19 regulations.
“Truly loving your family means that you will do whatever is possible to ensure that you do not put them at risk of contracting the disease. We can help each other if fewer of us are sick, but if we are reckless and infect each other then we can’t take care of each other if we are all sick.
“We urge members of the public to report any family members who sneak home after absconding from quarantine centres as these people are putting not only their families, but the rest of the community at risk of contracting Covid-19,” he said.
A total of 169 returnees have escaped from quarantine centres countrywide, posing challenges in efforts to reduce Covid-19 cases.
It is mandatory for all people returning to the country to be quarantined.
In recent weeks, most of the Covid-19 positive cases recorded in the country involve people returning mostly from South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.
Family members and members of the public have been urged to report to the police, relatives or community members who evade mandatory quarantine as their actions may result in the spread of Covid-19. The Chronicle