193 returnees test negative for Covid-19

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©️ ONE hundred and ninety three Zimbabweans who returned home from Botswana and were quarantined in Bulawayo have tested negative for coronavirus (Covid-19), a senior government official has said.

Currently, Bulawayo Polytechnic College is housing 256 men, while 200 women and children are quarantined at the United College of Education (UCE).

Addressing journalists yesterday after touring both institutions to assess the returnees’ welfare, deputy Labour and Social Welfare minister Lovemore Matuke said 193 have tested negative for Covid-19 and were waiting to be transported to their homes.

“Bulawayo Polytechnic is housing 256 returnees who came from Botswana and I am happy to say 94 have been tested for Covid-19 and all were negative and are free to leave… another 142 are yet to be tested. The remaining returnees will be tested once testing kits have been availed so that they join their families at home.

“At UCE, 99 were tested today (yesterday) and all were negative. Of these, 21 were children and 78 were adults,” Matuke said.

Matuke said it was the government’s responsibility to transport the returnees home and the ministry was seized with making those arrangements although it was proving to be a headache since the returnees are from different areas across the country.

“The challenge is that the people are from different parts of the country.

“It may be a bit difficult to hire one bus when one is going to Tsholotsho, another to Zvimba while the other is going to Masvingo.

“The officials are now seized with those arrangements to make sure we provide enough transport to take the returnees home,” Matuke added.

Among the returnees are convicted criminals who were granted clemency by the Botswana government and deported, Zimbabweans working in the neighbouring country as well as shoppers who were stuck on the other side of the border while trying to stock up food supplies in preparation for the lockdown.

“In the group, there are criminals who were deported because of this Covid-19 in Botswana. As the government, we have ensured they are free from Covid-19,” the deputy minister said.

Matuke tasked the social welfare department to follow up on the deportees to ckeck if they have enough food when they get home so that the government can provide basic commodities to enable them to settle without challenges.

He also urged them to stay at home when they get there, adding that rapid response teams would make follow-ups for another round of Covid-19 testing.

 

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