Concern As Mat North Quarantine Centre Exceeds Holding Capacity

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

AUTHORITIES in Matabeleland North are concerned about overcrowding at the provincial quarantine centre at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School in Victoria Falls which has exceeded its capacity of 100 people.

The department of social welfare had prepared classrooms enough to accommodate 100 people and as of Thursday afternoon, the centre had 107 people.

These include 11 minors.

A cumulative total of 141 returning citizens were received at the centre since its inception last month with 34 having been released after completing mandatory 21 days and testing negative for the coronavirus.

Social welfare is, therefore, appealing for more donations for food and other items for use by returnees at the centre.

“Today we received eight returnees from Zambia and Namibia bringing the cumulative total that has been received since the inception of the centre to 141,” said Mcnon Chirinzepi, the provincial social welfare officer.

“Currently, those who are housed here are 107 after 34 were released since Saturday and it is important to note that we have surpassed our carrying capacity by seven returnees,” he said.

The returnees housed at the centre are from Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa and Cameroon.

“We urgently need personal protective equipment and food for quarantine centres. Other quarantine centres in the districts need to be supported so that they are ready to receive returnees,” he said.

Some schools have been identified across the province to cater for spill-overs from Mosi.

The centre hopes that results of samples for 24 returnees sent to Bulawayo for confirmation come out COVID-19 negative so that they could be discharged and create space.

Health officials tested the returnees using rapid diagnostic testing kits and now await confirmation of the results using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing in Bulawayo.

Chirinzepi said in the event that no-one is discharged, the tested and waiting to be discharged will be transferred to an alternative quarantine centre in Lupane.

“We hope that if the results of the 24 tested returnees are received tomorrow, those tested negative will be taken to their respective destinations. Alternatively, those whose samples have been collected and are waiting for results can be moved to Lupane,” said Chrinzepi.