Residents opposed to Bulawayo Covid-19 quarantine facility close to their homes

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

RESIDENTS of Bulawayo high density suburb of Mpopoma-Pelandaba are resisting a government move to relocate returnees from Bulawayo Polytechnic to Rio hostel in the residential area, saying this will expose residents to Covid-19.

The government last week announced that all tertiary institutions which have been serving as quarantine centres in the city and other parts of the country will be disinfected in preparation for the re-opening of schools.

The government has identified Rio hostel in Mpopoma as an alternative accommodation for the returnees, but residents are against the move.

“I have just heard through rumours that returnees from Bulawayo Polytechnic will be relocated to Rio hostel,” area councillor, Donaldson Mabuto told weekend.

“As the councillor for the area, I have not been officially informed about this decision but what I can say is that there is a lot of uneasiness among residents over this issue.”

Mabuto said since the flats were located very close to other residential areas, the government should have extensively consulted residents about the issue.

“The government, through its relevant structures should have consulted residents on issue.

“Residents are afraid that they might contract coronavirus if the returnees are relocated to this place.

“Even if this move is good, the government has the duty also to educate the residents about measures if any, which have been put in place to protect the residents from getting virus,” he said.

The city father also expressed concern over lack of security at the disused property which used to house students.

“Part of the fence at the place has been vandalised. These are issues which should be addressed first before bringing the returnees to the hostels. We need to make sure that the residents are protected,” he added.

MP for the area, Charles Moyo said he was also worried about returnees being accommodated at a place without water.

“We cannot have returnees at an isolation place where there is no water.

“The current water crisis is a breeding ground for the spread of Covid-19. Water is key in the fight against the deadly corona virus,” said Moyo.

But Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan, Judith Ncube allayed fears the residential quarantine centres could expose residents to the pandemic.

“Even if we place them (returnees) in residential areas, it doesn’t mean that they already have the virus. It is just for us to observe that they do not contract the virus coming to this side,” she said.