By Leopold Munhende
RETURNING Zimbabweans will now be allowed to book into quarantine facilities of their choice if they can afford them, government said Tuesday.
As part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, returning locals are required to undergo 21 days of quarantine mostly in teachers’ colleges and boarding schools.
Government last month clashed with a group of 65 citizens who were returning from the United Kingdom and were resisted accommodation at Belvedere Teachers’ College in Harare arguing it was below standards.
However, speaking at Tuesday’s Post Cabinet Media Briefing, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the returnees will no longer be forced into facilities they were not comfortable with for as long as they had the resources to book into facilities of their choice.
“Cabinet resolved that returnees who offer to pay for themselves be allowed to do so on condition that the facility is secure and subject to inspection by health and security officials and that reputable and established companies be contracted to supply Covid-19 materials,” said Mutsvangwa.
Government will continue to provide services to those who cannot afford the plush places.
Zimbabwe has kept its borders open for returning locals who are subject to periods of between 14 and 21 days of quarantine.
Speaking at the same occasion, Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima said this was not an admission government was now failing to look after its returning citizens.
“We have not lacked resources to look after them, in terms of food and other provisions that they need,” Mavima said.
“There are returnees who are saying we do not want to be in public facilities, we would rather pay and be in more comfortable facilities.
“You will realise cabinet has said if there are those people who want to pay, we should set up those private facilities.
“You have to understand that there are some citizens who could not pay for themselves so the state has to continue providing for them and we can assure the state has resources to look after them.”
Some 3 134 have since returned into the country since the outbreak of the deadly pandemic in March this year.
Among the returnees are Zimbabweans who fled the country after committing crimes and have been on the police wanted list.
Police have seized the opportunity to look for suspects from the lot of returning locals.