By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has blamed the increase in Covid-19 infections at the State-run quarantine centres to failure by authorities to meet minimum standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The rights doctors said the isolation centres faced rampant shortages of sanitisers, soap, ablution facilities with running water, and basic utensils like plates.
They also attributed the increase in Covid-19 infections at the centres to; “Sharing of dormitories and sleeping close to each other in violation of the social and physical distancing, exposing the returnees to infection and ablution facilities which are dirty and in a state of disrepair.
“There is a lack of regular facilities disinfection contrary to the Covid-19 guidelines and there are no sanitisers being provided to the occupants, posing a serious health risk.”
The doctors’ group said utensils used at the quarantine centres were not washed with soap due to shortages and also bemoaned the absence of running water at the facilities.
Concern was also raised over limited access to medication for people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes.
“We are also concerned about reports that 150 returnees were released from a Gweru facility four days ahead of schedule on the 24th of May 2020, after returnees threatened to protest against poor living conditions,” said ZADHR.
The doctors noted the Covid-19 testing procedures were shambolic as some returning residents were going for days without being tested due to lack of test kits and exposing others to the pandemic.
“Despite the government having been compelled by the High Court of Zimbabwe to provide PPE (personal protective equipment) to all frontline health professionals, officers working at quarantine facilities throughout the country remain with inadequate personal protective equipment. This exposes the health professionals to infection,” the doctors group said.