Improve conditions at quarantine centres: Court


Tendai Kamhungira

HIGH Court judge Phildah Muzofa yesterday ordered Health minister Obadiah Moyo to improve living conditions in quarantine centres across the country, after an application filed by the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR).

In the application, ZADHR demanded the government to test all returning residents thrice before they are released and ensure that all quarantine centres have running water, are regularly disinfected and suitable for human habitation.

ZADHR, through their lawyer Jeremiah Bamu from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), cited Moyo as the respondent.

Muzofa granted the application in favour of the doctors.

“The respondent (Moyo) shall ensure that returning residents are tested on the first, eighth and 21st day of their quarantine.

“The respondent shall house returning residents and citizens at quarantine facilities in such a manner that social and physical distancing is maintained at all times in the boarding houses and other common areas.

“To this end, the respondent shall provide segregated, sanitary and hygienic conditions with proper infection control and protection for all persons in quarantine,” the court ruled.

In his affidavit, ZADHR secretary-general Norman Matara said the application sought to compel the government to put in place adequate measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in quarantine centres.

Matara said in terms of the Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) Regulations, the Health minister may identify or approve sites such as schools, colleges and hospitals to be used as isolation and quarantine centres.

He, however, said there has been a challenge in the testing process, as authorities have been failing to comply with the testing guidelines, which are supposed to be carried out on the first, eighth and the 21st day of the quarantine process.

“Failing to test them is a cocktail for disaster as some people without the disease at the facilities, including personnel attending to them may be infected” Matara said.

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