Police track down 215 quarantine escapees
POLICE are hunting for 215 individuals — including some who are infected with coronavirus (Covid-19) — who escaped from quarantine centres around the country, the Daily News reports.
This comes as the country as of Sunday night had recorded 985 confirmed cases, including 328 recoveries and 18 deaths amid revelations by the police that law enforcement agents have arrested at least 99 350 people for contravening lockdown rules.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi told the Daily News yesterday that law enforcement agents were gravely concerned after realising that of the 15 individuals who escaped from various centres last week, some of them were positive.
“We have 244 people who escaped from quarantine centres, but 29 have been arrested. We had about three escapees over the last weekend, but we are more concerned about the 15 who escaped last month because some of them were positive. That is a cause for concern and that is why we are calling on members of the public to act responsibly. The escapees contravened Covid-19 lockdown regulations hence they are liable to prosecution,” Nyathi said.
He also said over 90 000 arrests have been made so far since the lockdown regulations were put in place in March.
“They were arrested for various offences, including liquor violations and not wearing face masks, which is a cause for concern because these people will be exposing the public to the risk of infection.
“Out of the arrests made, 77 were truck drivers who were transporting people. Police also arrested 469 individuals for smuggling and border jumping,” Nyathi said.
Two of the Covid-19-positive people escaped from Pangani Training Centre in Matabeleland South, while seven are from Bulawayo Polytechnic and the rest from Mushagashe Training Centre in Masvingo.
All this comes as health authorities have warned the country to brace for further increases in the number of people contracting the lethal Covid-19.
In addition, they also warned that the local spread of the disease was likely to put paid to hopes of schools re-opening at the end of the month.
Returnees from other countries are first placed under quarantine as part of measures to stop the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, the government has banned churches from conducting services in schools, stating that they were increasing the chances of spreading the virus when schools open later this month.
Churches were recently allowed to resume services albeit under strict conditions, including adherence to physical distancing, use of hand sanitisers, temperature testing and limiting the number of congregants to 50.