SEVEN police detectives have been put on self-isolation after they came into contact with an accused person believed to be infected with the deadly coronavirus.
By Richard Muponde
Court officials, prison guards and prison inmates are also feared to have been infected after interacting with the accused person.
The accused (37) and his female accomplice (26) whose names were supplied to Glen View and Glen Norah police stations, respectively were arrested on April 11 for theft of a firearm and attempting to sell it.
They were arrested by the detectives who have since been advised to go on self-isolation.
The pair appeared at Harare Magistrates Courts last week where they reportedly came into contact with other suspects and prison guards during court appearance and on the way to remand prison after they were denied bail.
Their presence in remand prison has raised fears that they could spread the disease to other inmates and guards, if indeed they have the virus.
Details on whether they were tested for the virus or isolated at the remand prison were not readily available.
However, the national Criminal Investigation Department (CID) spokesperson, Portia Chinho would not comment on the matter saying she was not at work and referred questions to Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi whose mobile phone was unreachable.
Efforts to get a comment from Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services spokesperson Meya Khanyezi were futile as her mobile phone was also unreachable.
“There is an accused dealt with by Police Homicide Section who is suspected to be COVID-19 positive,” a police source said.
“The accused was put in remand prison for a case of theft of a firearm. He was denied bail and his next remand date is May 5.
“We don’t know if this accused has been tested at prison, but the detectives who dealt with them have been self-isolated for now.”
The source added that they feared that the accused could have spread the virus to a lot of people they came into contact with.
“They came into contact with court officials, prison guards, and other suspects at court and inmates at prison. If this matter is not handled well we could see a lot of people contracting the dreaded virus,” the source said.
According to the accused’s charge sheet under CRB 4701/20, seen by the publication, the detectives received information on April 11 that the man was selling an unidentified pistol.
The detectives arrested him and he implicated his female accomplice.
The detectives recovered a MAB Bravette pistol serial numbers 22495 with six rounds of ammunition under a shoe rack in her bedroom.