MUTARE – Panic has gripped Mutare residents following government’s announcement this week that a large contingent of returnees from oversees is set to return to Zimbabwe through Beira and will be quarantined at five designated centres in Mutare.
The Minister of State for Manicaland Province, Ellen Gwaradzimba this week announced that a large group of returnees was on its way to Beira by ship and is expected in Mutare soon.
“We are expecting many people coming in from abroad by ship through the port of Beira into the city,” she said.
“This has prompted us (Members of the provincial COVID-19 taskforce) to approach various institutions to be quarantine centres in the event we get huge numbers,” she said.
Gwaradzimba said the taskfirce had lined up Mutare Teachers’ College, Marymount Teachers’ College, Mutare Polytechnic, Forestry Industrial Training Centre and Toronto Training Centre to accommodate the returnees.
Residents in Mutare are already in panic mode.
“While we understand that they are Zimbabweans, this could turn out to be a disaster.
“Health authorities and all residents must now be very careful,” Tonderai Sahumbe, a Mutare resident, said.
“As residents of Mutare, the coming weeks will be very crucial for us,” Passmore Nyakureba, a prominent Mutare lawyer, said.
On a popular WhatsApp group – Mutare Watch – many members expressed grave fear.
“Well come to coronavirus. This is the real moment of truth for us,” Vitalis Mawadze said.
“We are all going to die if we do not take serious precautionary measures,” Tariro Chidamba said.
The news of the returning Zimbabweans through Beira comes at a time COVID-19 cases are spiraling.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care on Wednesday announced that the number of people who had tested positive to COVID-19 in Zimbabwe had now risen to 40 from 32 following tests done on Tuesday
“This sudden upward surge came after eight more people tested positive for coronavirus; six from Harare and two from Bulawayo,” the Health ministry said in a statement.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Agness Mahomva, said: “The ministry continues to be on high alert to the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to be guided by the COVID-I9 containment strategy which is based on intensified active surveillance, timely detection and testing, isolation and management of all COVID-19 cases,” she said.
“Further, the ministry would like to remind the nation that the most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to practise good personal hygiene and exercise social distancing,” Mahomva said.
Zimbabwe now has forty confirmed cases, including five recoveries and four deaths.