Returnees stranded after release from quarantine

About 100 returnees who had been quarantined for Covid-19 at Lupane State University (LSU) in Matabeleland North, were on Monday left stranded after the government failed to cater for transport to ferry them to their districts.

Government through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare either provides transport or transport fares to people leaving quarantine centres upon certifying them Covid-19 free but that did not happen to the LSU inmates.

One of the affected persons told CITE they were released from the centre in the morning with no clarity on how they were to go their homes after spending more than the stipulated 21 days at the centre.

He said after waiting for hours, rumours circulated that either a ZUPCO or Green Horse bus would come and ferry them but that did not happen, resulting in them approaching a social worker at the cite only identified as Manyere, who then told them that there was no transport.

“We asked him why they were delaying in facilitating for our transport,” said the man.

“He said there was no money to ferry people to their destinations.”

Manyere is then said to have told those with means to use their transport while those without to wait to be taken to another nearby quarantine facility at Mabhikwa for an indefinite time.

That did not go down well with the returnees who felt dumped by the state on top of spending more than three weeks in the quarantine facility.

“I tried to reason with the authorities to say we had overstayed and there was a bit of misunderstanding and people were not happy.”

He added some managed to borrow money from one another to leave the place but those without means were left behind.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister, Lovemore Matuke told CITE he had not been alerted on the development, saying the Ministry would investigate the issue.

“Do you have the details of one of those people that have been released without transport fare?” he asked requesting that contact details be forwarded to his office. 

“What we simply need to do is to check with our office to see what could have been the problem,” said Matuke.

“The other challenge which we normally get now is that people have no patience to wait for the money. Sometimes the money would not have reached the quarantine centres.” 

He added: “I will check with my provincial head in Matabeleland North to find out what could be the problem.  As for us as a ministry it is a policy to assist those people.”

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