MUTARE – The Minister of State for Manicaland, Ellen Gwaradzimba, has called for strict security and rigorous vetting of returnees at quarantine centres in the province.
This follows the escaping of three returnees recently, driving residents into panic mode.
Last weekend, returnees from Mozambique escaped from Marymount Teachers’ College where they were quarantined.
One of the escapees had since been apprehended, while the other two are still at large.
Addressing journalists on the sidelines of a COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donation from Higher Life Foundation to Mutare General Hospital on Tuesday, Gwaradzimba expressed grave concern on the laxity of security at quarantine centres.
“I am very concerned on the security lapses at this (Marymount Teachers’ College) quarantine centre,” she said.
“We only discovered that these thee returnees escaped because the windows of the building had no burglar bars and there is no security boundary fence,” Gwaradzimba said.
“They were only caught on the Mozambican side crossing into Mozambique. We are going to treat them as criminals,” she explained.
Gwaradzimba said two returnees are still on the run, while one is assisting police with investigations.
“There is now great need for the government to tighten security at these quarantine centres. There is also serious need for the returnees to go through thorough vetting before they are released into the quarantine centres,” Gwaradzimba said.
“Security must double-check on the information supplied by these returnees, because we have realised that those that escaped provided wrong home addresses,” said the resident minister.
“We should also see to it that the quarantine centres are properly secured because if these escapes continue, it pauses a great danger to the community,” Gwaradzimba said.
Her calls come at a time when the country’s COVID-19 positive cases have risen to 132.
The cases have been recorded at quarantine centres in Beitbridge, Masvingo and Harare.
The new cases are among returnees from South Africa and Botswana.