By Nokuthaba Dlamini
The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has abandoned plans to refurbish seven more quarantine centres in Matabeleland North province due to resource constraints.
The Provincial Social Welfare Officer Mcnon Chirinzepi told CITE that the province is going to continue operating the three quarantine centres, saying that the other seven previously identified centres were no longer a priority.
In June, the department announced that they needed about ZWL$12 994 15 to refurbish and furnish Ntengwe Drop Centre in Binga, ORAP Centre in Bubi, Elitsheni Government Complex and Jotsholo Hall, both in Lupane, DDF Training Centre in Tsholotsho and UNWTO Camp in Hwange.
The facilities also needed food supplies, electricity, fencing, water and bedding among other necessities.
“That is no longer a priority to us currently, we have surpassed that phase,” Chirinzepi said.
“The plan was to make all of them fully operational but we have resolved to use Encore Budget hotel and Phezulu lodge in Victoria Falls as permanent quarantine centres together with Inyathi Training Centre in Bubi. Mosi Oa Tunya High school was replaced by the two hotels while Lupane State University and Mabhikwa high school was replaced by Inyathi Training Centre.
“We are quite content with those three at the moment, and if coronavirus worsens we shall alternate to use some of these centres that have been put on hold for the returnees.”
Encore Budget hotel has a carrying capacity of 100 returnees and the current enrolment is 19.
Inyathi Training Centre has a capacity of 55 returnees and is accommodating six returnees.
Phezulu lodge set aside for self-paying returning residents has a carrying capacity of 25 returnees and is currently unoccupied.
As of Sunday, the province had received two returnees from South Africa who entered through the Beitbridge border post.
They are being housed at Inyathi Training Centre.