Quarantine Centres Lack Facilities For Infants, Leaving Them Highly Exposed To Covid-19

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By Idah Mhetu

GOVERNMENT social workers have bemoaned the lack of suitable facilities for children and infants accompanying their parents in quarantine centres, exposing them to Covid-19.

Briefing Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe and Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga during a tour of the quarantine centres in Harare Thursday, the provincial social welfare officer, Susan Ngani admitted the quarantine centres had no facilities to meet the needs of the young.

The three isolation centres in Harare are; Selbourne Routledge Primary School, Prince Edward Boys High and Harare Polytechnic.

Ngani said it was not safe for children to mix daily with adults they are not related to as this put them at the risk of contracting Covid-19.

Ngani also said social workers manning the centres were fighting with the relevant authorities to have the children separated from the adults.

“Our facilities at the moment do not cater for children, the problem for us as social workers now is that we have to fight hard to make sure that we create a conducive place for children especially because we cannot have children mingling with adults on a daily basis,” she said.

In response, Home Affairs Minister Kazembe said his government was looking into the issue of separating children and adults.

“Efforts are being made to make sure that a conducive environment is availed to them. Yes, it’s undesirable for toddlers to be mixing with adults and the government is looking into that and a solution will be reached very soon,” said Kazembe.

In April, UNICEF urged countries to address Covid-19’s impact on minors.

“Not only are children and young people contracting Covid-19, but they are also among its most severely impacted victims. Unless we act now to address the pandemic’s impacts on children, the echoes of Covid-19 will permanently damage our shared future,” UNICEF said then.