By Costa Nkomo
GOVERNMENT says some ex-convicts who are part of Zimbabweans returning from South Africa and Botswana were exhibiting violent tendencies at quarantine centres, leading some returnees to abscond from the mandatory exercise.
Returning locals are required to go through 21 days of compulsory quarantine.
Government says a total 300 ex-convicts from South Africa and Botswana had returned into the country since the country declared a lockdown against coronavirus.
Speaking during a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare Tuesday, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima said some returnees who were once convicted in the two neighbouring countries were turning violent with others sneaking out of the centres.
“So there have been some complaints but I think the major contributing factor to abscond is the characteristics of a returnee. Among them were ex-convicts in South Africa and Botswana,” Mavima said.
“In some cases, they have exhibited violent disposition like the situation that we encountered at Prince Edward School.
“Some have been apprehended and are going through the courts to be tried.”
Mavima said some returnees who were escaping from quarantine centres were complaining about the long period of stay at the centres.
“We have had also additional complaints which we are talking of. The main one being the period of stay at quarantine centres and government is now working to make sure that testing takes place efficiently and on time so that they can be released to their relatives.”
Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 quarantine centres have been under spotlight as basic necessities such as water have been unavailable.
This has seen some returnees stage demonstrations over poor living conditions.
Mavima however said water problems have since been addressed.
“There were some places which did not have adequate water which as government we have intervened and addressed,” he said.
The minister further said returning citizens who have also been demanding food to cater for their special diets especially those on medication supply have been assisted by government.
Zimbabwe has a total of 47 quarantine centres on its territory and has to date recorded 314 positive cases and four deaths.
The majority of those who have tested positive for the pandemic are locals returning from other countries.