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6 more returnees test positive for Covid-19

Six more people, all returnees from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, bringing Zimbabwe’s cumulative total to 567 cases since the outbreak of the global pandemic in March.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, seven new recoveries were also recorded from Matabeleland South province.

Nationally recoveries stand at 142.

Of the six new cases, four were recorded in Matabeleland South, one in Matabeleland North and one in Harare province. “As at June 27, 2020, Zimbabwe had 567 confirmed cases, including 142 recoveries and six deaths,” read the statement.

Bulawayo now has a cumulative of 51 confirmed Covid-19 cases while Harare has 213.

Matabeleland South has 54 cases while Matabeleland North has 16 cases.

Meanwhile, four more people have escaped from quarantine centres around the country, bringing the total number of quarantine escapees to 187.

One person is reported to have escaped from the NSSA Hotel quarantine centre in Beitbridge Matabeleland South Province while three others absconded from Murewa Training Centre quarantine centre in Mashonaland East Province.

This comes after two other Malawian nationals who tested positive for Covid-19 during profiling and screening at Beitbridge escaped last week, following the escape of two other people of Malawian origin in May at the same facility.

The Covid-19 status and identities of the latest escapees has not been disclosed.

The number of arrested escapees remains at 28 as police continue to search for people absconding from quarantine centres putting communities at risk of Covid-19 infection.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the development. “One person escaped from NSSA Hotel, Beitbridge while three others escaped from Murewa Training Centre quarantine centres. The cumulative number of escapees is now 187 while those arrested remain at 28,” he said.

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“Nine people were arrested for border jumping at Nyamapanda while one person was arrested for smuggling at Beitbridge,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.

He called on members of the public to be wary of the increasing number of Covid-19 infections and to abide by Covid-19 regulations, with more than 78 000 people having been arrested for violating Covid-19 regulations to date across the country.

“The number of new Covid-19 cases being detected is on the increase. We urge members of the public to conscientiously adhere to the measures put in place by Government to minimise the effects of this scourge,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.

Police have tightened security at the isolation centres and on the boundary of the main quarantine centres with assistance from the Zimbabwe National Army, the Support Unit and the Duty Uniform Branch (DUB).

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has red-flagged quarantine escapees, especially those that have tested positive for the virus, as they risk transmitting the virus in communities.

There have been calls for authorities to name and shame quarantine escapees for communities to be able to identify them, as they pose a danger due to their Covid-19 known and unknown statuses.

According to the Public Health Act, an individual loses their rights if they are deliberately posing a danger to the rest of society, as in the case of Covid-19 patients escaping from a quarantine centre and going into the community. 

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