Zimbabweans repatriating dead relatives face 21-day quarantine before funerals

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By Idah Mhetu

ZIMBABWEANS accompanying bodies of dead relatives from outside the country now face 21 days compulsory quarantine before they can be allowed to proceed to bury their loved ones.

This came out in a government memo directed to funeral parlours Tuesday.

The drastic government measure, according to the memo, is meant to minimise the importation of Covid-19 in the country after initial cases of the dreaded disease have been linked to returning locals.

According to the memo, referenced, “New Repatriation Guidelines”, all bodies other than those from road accidents or murder shall be treated as Covid-19 related deaths.

“All bodies being repatriated to Zimbabwe for burial will be treated as contagious except in cases where the cause of death is by road accident, murder or other body injuries,” read the statement.

“Consequently, all such mortal remains will require clearance by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in Zimbabwe using the usual clearance channels.

“Relatives accompanying the remains will now be subjected to mandatory quarantine at the designated points before proceeding to the funeral.

“The same applies in cases where the body is transiting through Zimbabwe.”

The tough government measures could see relatives abandon bodies of their loved ones outside the country.