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COVID-19 patient refuses to go into quarantine

A Bulawayo resident who tested positive for COVID-19 last week has refused to be taken to an isolation centre after health officials said his place of residence was not suitable for self-quarantine.

The patient, whose name is being withheld for ethical reasons is a male resident of a residential apartment in Bulawayo’s central business district.

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Rapid Response Team had a torrid time after spending hours trying to convince the man to get into the ambulance, however, he vowed not to leave his home.

On Friday, Acting Bulawayo Provincial Medical Director Dr Welcome Mlilo said people living in high rise apartments were not eligible for self-isolation at home as they shared their living space with other people, fellow residents of the flat.

When a CITE news crew arrived at the scene, a BCC rapid response ambulance was parked at the apartment building, with ambulance personnel negotiating with the man to get into the ambulance.

He was supposed to be taken to Elangeni Training Centre in Khumalo suburb, which is the isolation centre which has been identified by the ministry of health to house people who cannot self-isolate at home.

Residents at the apartment were watching from the windows and pleading with ambulance personnel and other health officials to take their ‘sick’ neighbour away as they feared for their lives.

His family members brought down a bag with his clothes and food parcels and packed them into the ambulance, however they later removed his belongings from the ambulance as he still refused to go.

He was speaking on the phone for the greater part of the time CITE was on site.

On Friday, the rapid response team was supposed to take him away, however sources from the flat said he had been locked up in his flat ‘pending further communication.

Armed police officers were called to the scene, however, the man refused to budge.

Contacted for a comment, the PMD said he was seized with the matter but could not provide finer details as the issue was too sensitive and still developing.

“I am sorry I am, seized with the matter as we speak, however, it’s too sensitive and I am not in a position to divulge any details at the moment,” said Dr Mlilo.

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