Belvedere to remain quarantine centre Mr Masanga

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter

Zimbabwean citizens who returned from the United Kingdom on Monday aboard Ethiopian Airlines will have to stay at Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College, as Government could not secure alternative accommodation.

The returnees had agreed to put up at the college on Monday on condition that Government would secure a “better place”. .

The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) was suggested, but the fact that UZ is already being used as a manufacturing hub for Covid-19 equipment does not allow it to be a quarantine facility. Other people, some of whom are involved in the production of the Covid-19 materials, are also staying on campus.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Secretary Mr Simon Masanga yesterday said Government was now working on availing borehole water to the returnees for drinking, adding that the college already had running water from the local authority.

“The institution had running water, but what they wanted was borehole water and we are in the process of getting that sorted,” he said.

“However, today we will organise bottled water for them. Since we could not secure accommodation for them at the UZ, that means we will have to work with what is there. They will have to stay at Belvedere Teachers’ College, after all this is only a temporary arrangement.”

Mr Masanga said those intending to get their personal blankets and linen from their relatives where free to do so, but no interaction would be permitted between them and their relatives.

“If anyone of them feels or visits a friend’s cubicle, that will be at their own risk, but we have made efforts to maintain social distancing even as they sleep,” he said.

Government had a difficult time on Monday trying to negotiate with the returnees to accept compulsory quarantine.

The returnees insisted that the quarantine facility was below standard and inhabitable and only accepted to sleep at the college on condition that they would be moved the following morning.

Yesterday, videos and pictures of the dormitories, bedding and ablution facilities made rounds on social media, but most Zimbabweans could not take any of it, insisting that Government should not compromise on compulsory quarantine.

The anger by most Zimbabweans emanated from confirmed cases of Covid-19 involving returnees who failed to abide by self-isolation rules and instead roamed around the streets, exposing other people to the virus.

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