Overstayed Mushakagashe Quarantine returnees beg for release

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

OVER a hundred returnees accommodated at Mushagashe Quarantine Centre near Masvingo town who have completed their 21-day mandatory isolation are begging government to release them.

The centre is some 30 kilometres out of Masvingo town along the Harare-Masvingo Highway.

Speaking to on condition of anonymity, the returnees from South Africa said they were now being tempted to escape from the centre after authorities seem to have forgotten they needed to be released so they could rejoin their families.

“We arrived here on the 16 July and we got tested and waited for three days, got our results and we were informed that all of us have tested negative,” a returnee told

“The officials said we must then wait for eight days to be re-tested and if one is still negative, they were going to be released.

“We were re-tested after eight days and since then, no official communication was released to us. We don’t know who tested negative or positive.

“Now we have completed the mandatory 21-day period, we beg them to release us because it seems that have forgotten about us.”

Inmates also felt discriminated against after they have observed there were some returnees who have come to the centre to be released even after just three days of their stay.

“When they arrived here, they got tested but even before they got their results, they were released. We don’t know why,” one returnee said.

“We suspect they are paying bribes to be released by officials manning this centre.”

He begged authorities to let the over 120 returnees leave adding that conditions were not pleasing at the crowded quarantine centre.

Covid-19 Masvingo provincial taskforce spokesperson Rodgers Irimai could not be reached for comment.

Sometime mid last month, some eight returnees escaped from the centre.