By Nokuthaba Dlamini
COVID-19 quarantine centres in Matabeleland North are bracing for more inmates a situation likely to put the centres under a lot of strain.
The province currently has two quarantine centres Encore Budget Hotel in Victoria Falls and Inyathi Training Centre in Bubi district.
The other centre, Phezulu Lodge, a private quarantine centre for self-paying inmates.
The facility charges US$ 85 per night.
Matabeleland North social welfare officer Macnon Chirinzepi told CITE that they received more returnees on Monday.
“Today, (Monday) via Victoria Falls Border we received 14 returnees being three male adults, three children and eight females at Encore Budget Hotel who were coming from Namibia and Zambia while from Inyathi Training Centre we received five returnees being four males and one female who came via Beitbridge Border Post,” Chirinzepi said.
“The numbers are growing almost every day and we need to make sure that we stay alert and prepare for more of these returnees, therefore there is urgent need to refurbish alternative quarantine centres particularly in Victoria Falls where are receiving many returnees from Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.”
The department has identified seven more quarantine centres in each district, but the government is failing to raise ZWL$13 million for refurbishments.
Due to unavailability of public centres ready to accommodate the returnees, the government last month rented a private Encore Budget hotel in Victoria Falls, and the cumulative total of returnees that have been received since the inception stands at 153 people including seven migrants en route to Uganda, Namibia, Congo and Somalia.
The centre on Monday discharged 15 returnees who have been waiting for their Covid-19 results.
The current enrolment stands at 53.
Another newly established Inyathi Training centre has a capacity of 55 and currently has an enrolment of 25 returnees being 16 males and nine females.
The cumulative number of returnees who have been received at the centre since its inception is 86 with most of them being from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
On the challenges, Chirinzepi said the results of returnees who have been tested were taking long to be availed as the samples are taken to Bulawayo for testing before the inmates are released.